How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing School near Phenix City Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Phenix City AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many points to examine. For instance, many students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 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.
Plumbing 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.
Topics to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Phenix City AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Phenix City AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 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 signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Phenix City AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Phenix City AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Phenix City AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Get More Info About Phenix City Plumbing Training Schools
Pick the Right Phenix City Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phenix City AL.