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How to Find the Right Plumber Tech School near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise Alabama plumber replacing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Enterprise AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of points to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.

What is 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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Enterprise AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Enterprise AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering 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 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Enterprise AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Enterprise AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Enterprise AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Enterprise AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large 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. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Enterprise AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Enterprise AL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Enterprise Plumber Training Schools

Choose the Best Enterprise Plumber Training School

Selecting the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Enterprise AL.