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How to Pick the Right Plumber Training Course near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise Alabama plumber fixing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Enterprise AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many variables to consider. For instance, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

Enterprise Alabama plumbing contractor adjusting sink 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 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 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.

Topics to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

Enterprise Alabama plumbing contractor repairing water heater

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 area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify 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. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to 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 usually regulated and controlled 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Enterprise AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Enterprise AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Enterprise AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Enterprise AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Enterprise AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

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 can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Enterprise AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Enterprise Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Enterprise Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Enterprise AL.