How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Tech School near Oxford Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Oxford AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options 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 Oxford AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Oxford 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 Oxford 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Oxford 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 Plumber Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Oxford AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Oxford AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you’re not sure, 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 Oxford 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Oxford AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade 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 comparing have working relationships with local Oxford AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Oxford AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Oxford AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Oxford AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Oxford AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Oxford Plumber Training School
Choosing the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oxford AL.