How to Select the Right Plumbing Course near Auburn Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Becoming a Plumber
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 OptionsThere 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Auburn AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Auburn AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date 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 looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Auburn AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few 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? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Auburn Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.