How to Find the Right Plumber Technical School near Homewood Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Homewood AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have found some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will address 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 available.
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.
Plumber Degree and Certificate 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Homewood AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Homewood AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking 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 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 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 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 program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Homewood AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along 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. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Homewood AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Homewood AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Homewood AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get 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 see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Homewood AL and what degrees or certifications 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Homewood AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find Out More About Homewood Plumbing Training Schools
Enroll in the Right Homewood Plumber Trade School
Choosing the right plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Homewood AL.