How to Choose the Right Plumbing Technical School near Enterprise Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Enterprise AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumber training 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 choices that are offered.
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 Enterprise AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Enterprise 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 Enterprise 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Enterprise 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 Training Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Enterprise AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Enterprise AL program and school 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 acquire a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 Enterprise 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Enterprise AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Enterprise AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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 in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Enterprise AL plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Enterprise AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Enterprise AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Enterprise AL, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Enterprise Plumber Trade School
Selecting the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Enterprise AL.