How to Choose the Right Plumber Training 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 numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional 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 ProgramsThere 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 Plumber Trade Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Phenix City AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Phenix City AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Phenix City AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing contractor 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 home. Remember 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 get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Phenix City AL and what degrees or certifications 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 are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, check that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Phenix City Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phenix City AL.