How to Choose the Best Plumber Technical School near Prichard Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Prichard AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located a few that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover 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 educational choices that are offered.
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.
Plumber 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Training Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Prichard AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Prichard AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering 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 regulates 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 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 looking at 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 signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important 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 employ 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Prichard AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous 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 companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Prichard AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Prichard AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Prichard AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Prichard AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prichard AL, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Prichard Plumber Training School
Selecting the best plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prichard AL.