How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Technical School near Pelham Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Pelham AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found some that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that need to be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 Pelham AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Pelham 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 Pelham 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Pelham 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.
Topics to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Pelham AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Pelham AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program 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 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’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 Pelham 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 complete the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important 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 employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Pelham AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Pelham AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Pelham AL plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Pelham AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Pelham AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pelham AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find Out More About Pelham Plumbing Trade Schools
Choose the Best Pelham Plumbing Training School
Selecting the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must 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 education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Pelham AL.