Home >> Alabama >> Bessemer >> Courses For Plumbers


Request Free Info on Plumber Schools Bessemer AL 35020


How to Choose the Right Plumbing Training near Bessemer Alabama

Bessemer Alabama plumber replacing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Bessemer AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that should be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

Bessemer Alabama plumbing contractor repairing water pipe

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 Bessemer AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Bessemer 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 Bessemer AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There are several educational options available near Bessemer 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 Plumbing Tech Schools

Bessemer Alabama plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Bessemer AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Bessemer AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates its licensing and then verify 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 Bessemer 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Bessemer AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Bessemer AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bessemer AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bessemer AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Bessemer AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Get More Info About Bessemer Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Right Bessemer Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Bessemer AL.