Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Birmingham AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Birmingham AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
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 checking 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 Birmingham 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 may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Birmingham AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along 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 businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Birmingham AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Birmingham AL plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Birmingham AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Birmingham AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Birmingham AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.