Points to Ask Plumber Technical Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Mobile AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Mobile 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 make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 Mobile 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Mobile AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Mobile AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment 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 up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already 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 Mobile AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Mobile AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Mobile AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mobile AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.