How to Choose the Best Plumber Vocational School near East Florence Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near East Florence AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.
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 East Florence AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of East Florence 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 East Florence AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are several educational options available near East Florence 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the East Florence AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the East Florence AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 East Florence 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the East Florence AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local East Florence AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local East Florence AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your East Florence AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in East Florence 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 meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near East Florence AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best East Florence Plumber Vocational School
Picking the best plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in East Florence AL.