How to Select the Best Plumber Vocational School near Prattville Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Prattville AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are a number of points to examine. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
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 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 Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Prattville AL region, it's imperative 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 even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Prattville AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course 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 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Prattville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Prattville AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies 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 working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Prattville AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Prattville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Prattville AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating 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 looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Prattville Plumbing Vocational School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prattville AL.