Home >> Alabama >> Decatur >> Plumbing Schools


Request Free Info on Plumbing Training Courses Decatur AL 35601


How to Select the Best Plumbing Training Course near Decatur Alabama

Decatur Alabama plumbing contractor fixing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Decatur AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For example, many students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

Decatur Alabama plumbing contractor repairing sink 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.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Programs

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 hot water heater

When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Decatur AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Decatur AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 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 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 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 lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Decatur AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Decatur AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Decatur AL plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Decatur AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Decatur AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Decatur Plumbing Vocational Schools

Pick the Best Decatur Plumber Vocational School

Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Decatur AL.