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What to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Montgomery AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable 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, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified 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 alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Montgomery AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Montgomery AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm 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, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Montgomery AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Montgomery AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Montgomery AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

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