How to Find the Best Plumbing Trade School near East Florence Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near East Florence AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located several that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that should be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.
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 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.
Plumber Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the East Florence AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the East Florence AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of 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, an additional way of confirming that 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 don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the East Florence AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local East Florence AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local East Florence AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your East Florence AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in East Florence AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near East Florence AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best East Florence Plumbing Training School
Picking the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in East Florence AL.