How to Choose the Best Plumber Training School near Decatur Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Decatur AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located some that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, 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 Decatur AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Decatur 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 Decatur 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 Decatur 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
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Decatur AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Decatur AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 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 Decatur 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Decatur AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught together 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 contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Decatur AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus 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. Otherwise, ask a local Decatur AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Decatur AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Decatur AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Decatur Plumbing Training School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few 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 right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Decatur AL.