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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Technical School near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise Alabama plumbing contractor repairing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Enterprise AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that need to be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will discuss 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 choices that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

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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.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Programs

There 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 Plumber Tech Schools

Enterprise Alabama plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Enterprise AL region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Enterprise AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

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 checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Enterprise AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Enterprise AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Enterprise AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Enterprise AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Enterprise AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Enterprise AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

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Enroll in the Best Enterprise Plumbing Trade School

Picking the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program 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 frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on 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, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Enterprise AL.