How to Choose the Best Plumbing Training School near Montgomery Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Montgomery AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many variables to consider. For instance, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that must 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 picking a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options 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 Certificate and Degree 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.
Topics to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn 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 region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school 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 determination, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Montgomery AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. 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 more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire 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 vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Montgomery AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Montgomery AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Montgomery AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to 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? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
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Pick the Right Montgomery Plumber Vocational School
Picking the best plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Montgomery AL.