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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Training School near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery Alabama plumbing contractor repairing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Montgomery AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found some that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review 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.

What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

Montgomery Alabama plumbing contractor repairing water heater

Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Montgomery AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, 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 assess prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Montgomery AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order 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 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 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?  Most plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Montgomery AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Montgomery AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Montgomery AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn 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 can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Montgomery AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Montgomery Plumbing Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Right Montgomery Plumber Training School

Picking the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Montgomery AL.