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How to Enroll in the Best Plumber School near Hoover Alabama

Hoover Alabama plumbing contractor installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Hoover AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of points to consider. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when picking a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

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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 Hoover AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

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

Plumber Certificate and Degree Programs

There are several educational options available near Hoover 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.

Topics to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Hoover AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Hoover AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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’re not sure, 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 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 schools 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 program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Hoover AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Hoover AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Hoover AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Hoover AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

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

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Hoover Plumbing Trade Schools

Pick the Right Hoover Plumbing Training School

Picking the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary 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. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Hoover AL.