How to Select the Best Plumber Trade School near Daphne Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Daphne AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.
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 Daphne AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Daphne 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 Daphne 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Daphne 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Daphne AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical 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 relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Daphne AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled 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 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 Daphne 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 complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Daphne AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Daphne AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Daphne AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Daphne AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Daphne 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 meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Daphne AL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Daphne Plumber Vocational School
Picking the best plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Daphne AL.