How to Pick the Right Plumber Course near Phenix City Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Phenix City AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.
What is 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Phenix City AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Phenix City AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Phenix City AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting 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 fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Phenix City AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Phenix City Plumber Training School
Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, 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 also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phenix City AL.