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How to Select the Best Plumbing Training School near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama plumber installing kitchen faucetThe first 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 choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

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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 Programs

There 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 Tech Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Phenix City AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive 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 sure that the Phenix City AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Phenix City AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Phenix City AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few 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 comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some 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?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Phenix City Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Right Phenix City Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phenix City AL.