How to Pick the Best Plumber Trade School near Pelham Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Pelham AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many variables to examine. For example, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final decision when choosing a plumbing trade 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 instructional choices 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 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 Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Pelham AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Pelham AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 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 training programs 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 program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified 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 graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Pelham AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along 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 labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Pelham AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Pelham AL plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Pelham AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one 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 large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Pelham AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Pelham Plumber Training School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own 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 differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain 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 Pelham AL.