How to Select the Right Plumbing Training School near Mobile Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Mobile AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole 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 final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
Becoming 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 Mobile AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Mobile 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 Mobile AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate OptionsThere are several educational options available near Mobile 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 Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Mobile AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Mobile AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational 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 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 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 training programs you are considering 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 suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 graduates, 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Mobile AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Mobile AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently 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 provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Mobile AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized 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. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers 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? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Mobile Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Mobile AL.