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How to Select the Best Plumber School near Auburn Alabama

Auburn Alabama plumbing contractor repairing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, some prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

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Almost everyone at one time or another has needed the services of a professional plumber.  It may have been due to a leaky faucet or perhaps a hot water heater needed to be replaced.  Plumbers provide a valuable service for the maintenance of both commercial and residential buildings.  They are skilled tradesmen who are trained in the installation, repair and replacement of plumbing systems.  These systems include pipes, plumbing fixtures, water based heating and cooling, sewage removal and sprinklers.  A local Auburn AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Auburn AL plumbers begin their careers as an Apprentice.  Apprenticeships are often completed in tandem with a formalized plumbing training program.  Apprentices are typically paid but unlicensed and work under the guidance of a licensed plumber during working hours and attend plumber training classes at night.  The second phase of their career begins once the apprenticeship and the training program have been completed.
  • Journeyman Plumber. Once the apprenticeship has been completed as well as any required training program, application for Journeyman Plumber licensing can be made.  Most often licensing is controlled by the state but can be managed more locally at the county or city level.  A Journeyman license will only be issued after all requirements have been met, including a passing score on the licensing exam. Even though a Journeyman is more knowledgeable and experienced than an Apprentice, they generally must continue to be supervised, in this case by a Master Plumber.
  • Master Plumber. After attaining the necessary work experience and completing any additional educational requirements, the Journeyman can apply to become a Master Plumber.  Once again a passing score must be achieved on the licensing exam before a license will be issued.  There are several benefits to advancing to the Master Plumber level, including earnings at the highest pay level, unsupervised working conditions, and the ability to start and own a business.  Master Plumbers may also hire and supervise both Journeymen and Apprentices.

As a technical field requiring a high level of skill and competence, plumbing can take years of both training and experience to master.  As a consequence, the best opportunity for success for a new Apprentice in Auburn AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Programs

There are several educational options available near Auburn AL to receive the necessary training to begin your career as a plumber.  As far as the schools offering programs, you can enroll in a trade, technical or vocational school as well as a local community college.  The programs offered will vary, but in general the shortest is the certificate program which will focus on the fundamentals and generally take about a year to complete.  An Associate Degree will take 2 years to complete and will provide a more comprehensive education.  There are some colleges that do offer a Bachelor Degree in plumbing technology, which are 4 year programs and much broader in nature.  When choosing a school and program, naturally the completion time and the cost will be important factors.  Tuition can vary significantly among the various schools and colleges and for some private schools can be quite expensive.  State schools and community colleges typically offer their programs at the lower end of the tuition scale.  However, when making your comparisons, keep in mind that many schools offer financial aid and even scholarships to help offset some of the financial burden.  So be sure to find out what is available for each school and program before making your final decision.

What to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

Auburn Alabama plumber installing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Auburn AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Auburn AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates its licensing and then check to ensure that it’s up to date.

How Long has the School been in Business?  Another means of determining the quality of a technical school is to find out how long it’s been in business.  The longer a school has been in operation, the more likely that its programs are highly rated and regarded. Conversely, schools that are not well regarded or that provide low quality training generally don’t stand the test of time.  However, keep in mind that even the best of Auburn AL schools had to start from their first day of operation, so only use it as one of several qualifications for each school you are considering.

What are the School’s Completion and Placement Rates?  Ask the plumbing schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Auburn AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Auburn AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Learn More About Auburn Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Right Auburn Plumbing Vocational School

Picking the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.