How to Select the Best Plumber Tech School near Florence Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Florence AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For example, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision 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 instructional options that are accessible.
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 Florence AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Florence 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 Florence 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Florence 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Florence AL region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have received 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 a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Florence AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course 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 reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 Florence 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 finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Florence AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Florence AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date 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 under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Florence AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Florence AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Florence AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Florence Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Florence AL.