How to Choose the Best Plumbing Training near Phenix City Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Phenix City AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For example, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about 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 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 Degree and Certificate 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin 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 meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Phenix City AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Phenix City AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Phenix City AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Phenix City AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Phenix City AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out 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 reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Learn More About Phenix City Plumbing Trade Schools
Choose the Best Phenix City Plumbing Training School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin 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 prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain 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.