Home >> Alabama >> Madison >> How To Become A Plumber


Request Free Info on Plumbing Schools Madison AL 35756


How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Technical School near Madison Alabama

Madison Alabama plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Madison AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

Madison Alabama plumber repairing sink pipe

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.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Programs

There 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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

Madison Alabama plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Madison AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Madison AL program and school are 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 get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with 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 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 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, 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?  Many plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Madison AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Madison AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Madison AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Madison AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Madison Plumber Trade Schools

Choose the Right Madison Plumber Training School

Selecting the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. 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 looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small 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 in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Madison AL.