How to Pick the Best Plumbing Trade School near Hoover Alabama
The initial 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 select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many points to examine. For instance, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found several that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options 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 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 Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Hoover AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Hoover AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 is responsible for 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Hoover AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Hoover AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Hoover AL plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Hoover AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out 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 schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Hoover Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. 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 ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Hoover AL.