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How to Find the Right Plumbing Training near Decatur Alabama

Decatur Alabama plumbing contractor repairing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Decatur AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many points to consider. For instance, some students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located several that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location 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 graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Decatur Alabama plumber adjusting 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 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 Options

There 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.

What to Ask Plumber Training Schools

Decatur Alabama plumber installing water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Decatur AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Decatur AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational 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’re not sure, 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 schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify 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 may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Decatur AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade 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 reviewing have referring partnerships with local Decatur AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies 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 tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Decatur AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Decatur 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 receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Decatur AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, confirm that the schools you are considering 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, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Get More Info About Decatur Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Decatur Plumber Vocational School

Picking the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Decatur AL.