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How to Find the Right Plumber Training Course near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery Alabama plumber replacing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Montgomery AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

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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 Certificate and Degree Programs

There 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Montgomery AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Montgomery AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 trade, 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?  Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Montgomery AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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 regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Montgomery AL plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Montgomery AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Montgomery Plumber Trade Schools

Choose the Best Montgomery Plumbing Trade School

Picking the ideal plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Montgomery AL.