How to Pick the Best Plumbing Trade School near Mountain Brook Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Mountain Brook AL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.
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.
Plumbing 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 Plumber Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Mountain Brook AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned 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, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Mountain Brook AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require 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 determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Mountain Brook AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship 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 comparing have referring relationships with local Mountain Brook AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Mountain Brook AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Mountain Brook AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction 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. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Mountain Brook AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure 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, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Mountain Brook Plumbing Training School
Choosing the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Mountain Brook AL.