How to Choose the Best Plumber Course near Prattville Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Prattville AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.
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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere 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 Vocational Schools
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 trade and vocational schools in the Prattville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can 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. Verify that the Prattville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent 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 directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Prattville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Prattville AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Prattville AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Prattville AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some 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 programs you are reviewing 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, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make 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, sickness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Prattville Plumbing Trade School
Choosing the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal 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 attend a few classes. Tour 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, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prattville AL.