How to Pick the Right Plumbing Tech School near Homewood Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Homewood AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.
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 Homewood AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Homewood 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 Homewood 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Homewood 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Homewood AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Homewood AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate 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 confirming that 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 Homewood 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Homewood AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Homewood AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job 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 trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently 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 Homewood AL plumbing company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Homewood AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Homewood AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Homewood AL, check that the programs you are considering 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 policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Homewood Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the best plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own 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 conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Homewood AL.