How to Pick the Right Plumber Trade School near Huntsville Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Huntsville AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 Huntsville AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Huntsville 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 Huntsville 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 Huntsville 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Huntsville AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Huntsville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
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 usually 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 Huntsville 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct 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 can 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Huntsville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Huntsville AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build 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 on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Huntsville AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Huntsville AL residence. 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 get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Huntsville AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Huntsville Plumber Trade Schools
Choose the Right Huntsville Plumbing Trade School
Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Huntsville AL.