How to Choose the Best Plumbing Trade School near Prichard Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Prichard AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will address 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 available.
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 Prichard AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Prichard 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 Prichard 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 Prichard 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Prichard AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Prichard AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing 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 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 Prichard 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Prichard AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Prichard AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prichard AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Prichard AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Prichard AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools 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 Prichard AL, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Prichard Plumber Training School
Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prichard AL.