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How to Select the Right Plumbing Training near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Phenix City AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.

Becoming 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.

Points to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Phenix City AL region, 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 although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Phenix City AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

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 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 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Phenix City AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Phenix City AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Phenix City AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Phenix City Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Right Phenix City Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the best plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study 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 determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phenix City AL.