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Points to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

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Once you have made a decision to earn 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 Hoover AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Hoover AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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’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 Hoover 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Hoover AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Hoover AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Hoover AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Hoover AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Hoover AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

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