How to Pick the Best Plumbing School near Homewood Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Homewood AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of points to examine. For example, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have found some that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover 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 educational choices 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 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 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 Plumber Training Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Homewood AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Homewood AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Homewood AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Homewood AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Homewood AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Homewood AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Homewood AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, check 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 permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Learn More About Homewood Plumber Trade Schools
Pick the Best Homewood Plumbing Trade School
Picking the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Homewood AL.