How to Find the Best Plumber School near Prattville Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Prattville AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many factors to examine. For example, many students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are accessible.
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 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.
Plumbing 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Tech Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Prattville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Prattville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 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 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 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 suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Prattville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Prattville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish 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 on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Prattville AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to 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 one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn 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 assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Prattville Plumber Trade School
Picking the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Prattville AL.