How to Find the Right Plumbing Training School near Decatur Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Decatur AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have located several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber 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 educational options that are accessible.
What is 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 ProgramsThere 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 Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Decatur AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Decatur AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 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 complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest 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 similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Decatur AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Decatur AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical 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 equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult 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 provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving 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 can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Decatur AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Decatur AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Decatur Plumber Training School
Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some 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, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Decatur AL.