Home >> Alabama >> Gadsden >> How To Become A Plumber


Request Free Info on Plumbing Schools Gadsden AL 35901


How to Find the Right Plumber Technical School near Gadsden Alabama

Gadsden Alabama plumbing contractor replacing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Gadsden AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to consider. For example, many students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Gadsden Alabama plumbing contractor repairing 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 Gadsden AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Gadsden 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 Gadsden AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Options

There are several educational options available near Gadsden 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.

Things to Ask Plumber Training Schools

Gadsden Alabama plumber replacing hot water heater

Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Gadsden AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Gadsden AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 Gadsden 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Gadsden AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Gadsden AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Gadsden AL plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Gadsden AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Gadsden AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gadsden AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Get More Info About Gadsden Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Gadsden Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date 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 satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Gadsden AL.