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Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

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When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Mobile AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Mobile AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Mobile AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade programs are taught together 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 companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Mobile AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Mobile AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Mobile AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Mobile AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mobile AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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