How to Choose the Right Plumbing Trade School near Hoover Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Hoover AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many points to consider. For instance, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.
What is 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 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 OptionsThere 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 Plumber Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Hoover AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Hoover AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Hoover AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Hoover AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Hoover AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Hoover AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Hoover AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hoover Plumbing Training School
Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Hoover AL.