How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training near Enterprise Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Enterprise AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For example, many students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 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 Certificate and Degree 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Training Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Enterprise AL region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Enterprise AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some 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, another way of confirming that a trade 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. 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 directory of graduates, which may produce 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Enterprise AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Enterprise AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Enterprise AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Enterprise AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction 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 students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Enterprise AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Enterprise AL, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Enterprise Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Enterprise AL.