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How to Find the Best Plumber Tech School near Pelham Alabama

Pelham Alabama plumber repairing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Pelham AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many points to evaluate. For example, many students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that should 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 contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about 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 training options that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

Pelham Alabama plumber fixing water 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 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.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Programs

There 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.

Points to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

Pelham Alabama plumber installing hot water heater

When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Pelham AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Pelham AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Pelham AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction 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 trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Pelham AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Pelham AL plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Pelham AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Pelham AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pelham AL, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Pelham Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Pelham Plumber Training School

Selecting the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Pelham AL.