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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Tech School near East Florence Alabama

East Florence Alabama plumber fixing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near East Florence AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many points to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

East Florence Alabama plumber repairing 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 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 Programs

There 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.

Points to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

East Florence Alabama plumber installing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the East Florence AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the East Florence AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to 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 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 regulates 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the East Florence AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught along 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 trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local East Florence AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently 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 East Florence AL plumbing contracting 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 East Florence AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe 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 regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in East Florence AL and what certifications or degrees 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 attend classes in the evening or on weekends near East Florence AL, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Get More Info About East Florence Plumbing Training Schools

Enroll in the Best East Florence Plumber Vocational School

Choosing the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in East Florence AL.