How to Find the Best Plumber Training School near Mountain Brook Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Mountain Brook AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For example, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.
Becoming 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 Mountain Brook AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Mountain Brook 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 Mountain Brook 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Mountain Brook 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 Tech Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Mountain Brook AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Mountain Brook AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course 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 vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 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 Mountain Brook 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 course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Mountain Brook AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Mountain Brook AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Mountain Brook AL plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Mountain Brook AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Mountain Brook AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
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 at night or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mountain Brook Plumber Trade School
Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Mountain Brook AL.