How to Select the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Madison Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Madison AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options 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 Madison AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Madison 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 Madison AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Madison 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 Tech Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Madison AL region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables 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? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Madison AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you don’t know, 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 Madison 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 finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Madison AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Madison AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Madison AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Madison AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Madison AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Madison AL, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Madison Plumbing Tech Schools
Pick the Best Madison Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Madison AL.