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How to Find the Best Plumber Technical School near Prattville Alabama

Prattville Alabama plumber repairing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Prattville AL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.

What is 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 Degree and Certificate 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.

Points to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Prattville AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade 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, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Prattville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that 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’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 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 course. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, 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 help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Prattville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Prattville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school 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 currently 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 contracting company if they can provide 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 moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable 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 a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to 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 handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Prattville Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Prattville Plumber Training School

Choosing the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Prattville AL.