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How to Find the Right Plumbing School near Mountain Brook Alabama

Mountain Brook Alabama plumber replacing kitchen faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Mountain Brook AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, some students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, 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 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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There 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.

Things to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Mountain Brook AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may 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. Make sure that the Mountain Brook AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if 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 is responsible for 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 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Mountain Brook AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Mountain Brook AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Mountain Brook AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Mountain Brook AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few 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 Mountain Brook AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Mountain Brook Plumber Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Best Mountain Brook Plumbing Training School

Picking the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length 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. Every program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Mountain Brook AL.