How to Pick the Best Plumber Technical School near Huntsville Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Huntsville AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located some 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 only 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 qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 Degree and Certificate 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.
Questions to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Huntsville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Huntsville AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 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 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 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 lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Huntsville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Huntsville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Huntsville AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Huntsville AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Huntsville AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Huntsville AL, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
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Enroll in the Best Huntsville Plumbing Trade School
Picking the best plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Huntsville AL.