Home >> Alabama >> Opelika >> Schools For Plumbers


Request Free Info on Plumbing Training Opelika AL 36801


How to Select the Right Plumber Training near Opelika Alabama

Opelika Alabama plumbing contractor fixing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Opelika AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many variables to examine. For instance, some prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will talk about 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 options that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

Opelika Alabama plumbing contractor repairing sink pipe

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 Opelika AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Opelika 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 Opelika 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 Opelika 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 Trade Schools

Opelika Alabama plumbing contractor installing water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Opelika AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Opelika AL program 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 obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 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 Opelika 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Opelika AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Opelika AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 looking for. If not, ask a local Opelika AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Opelika AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Opelika AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Opelika AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. 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 policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Get More Info About Opelika Plumber Trade Schools

Pick the Best Opelika Plumbing Training School

Choosing the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Opelika AL.