How to Find the Best Plumber Tech School near Montgomery Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Montgomery AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many points to consider. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.
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 Montgomery AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Montgomery 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 Montgomery 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Montgomery 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.
What to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Montgomery AL region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school 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 decision, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Montgomery AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking 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 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 Montgomery 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 looking at 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 dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Montgomery AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Montgomery AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus 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 with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Montgomery 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 Montgomery 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 important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Montgomery AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Montgomery AL, verify 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, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Montgomery Plumber Training School
Selecting the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Montgomery AL.