How to Choose the Best Plumber Technical School near Phenix City Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Phenix City AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have located several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address 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 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 Phenix City AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Phenix City 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 Phenix City 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Phenix City 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Phenix City AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Phenix City 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 get a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
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 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 is responsible for 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 Phenix City 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Phenix City 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 vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Phenix City AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Phenix City 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 reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Right Phenix City Plumbing Vocational School
Selecting the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform 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 degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phenix City AL.