How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Training near Opelika Alabama
The initial step to learning to be 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 tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
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 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 Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Opelika AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber tech 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 involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Opelika AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
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 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 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 considering 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 may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Opelika AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Opelika AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already 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 give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Opelika AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized 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 see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Opelika AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Opelika AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get More Info About Opelika Plumbing Tech Schools
Enroll in the Best Opelika Plumbing Training School
Selecting the best plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Opelika AL.