How to Find the Right Plumber Technical School near Oxford Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Oxford AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber training 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 instructional 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 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 ProgramsThere 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Oxford AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Oxford AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of 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, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 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 schools you are reviewing 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 signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train 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 may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Oxford 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 companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Oxford AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Oxford AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Oxford AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Oxford 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oxford AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find Out More About Oxford Plumbing Trade Schools
Pick the Best Oxford Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oxford AL.