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How to Find the Right Plumbing Training Course near Prattville Alabama

Prattville Alabama plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Prattville AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 Prattville AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Prattville 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 Prattville 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Prattville 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 Technical Schools

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When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Prattville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Prattville AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you don’t know, 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 Prattville 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 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 might signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Prattville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Prattville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing 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 tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prattville AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Prattville AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Prattville AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Prattville Plumber Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Right Prattville Plumbing Training School

Selecting the best plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prattville AL.