How to Find the Right Plumbing Technical School near Bessemer Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Bessemer AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
What is 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 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 ProgramsThere 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.
What to Ask Plumber Technical Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Bessemer AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational schools have earned 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 pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Bessemer AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors 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 alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Bessemer AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Bessemer AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides 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 equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Bessemer AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Bessemer AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some 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? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bessemer AL, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get More Info About Bessemer Plumbing Vocational Schools
Enroll in the Best Bessemer Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Bessemer AL.