How to Find the Right Plumbing Tech School near Prichard Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Prichard AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many points to consider. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 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 OptionsThere 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Prichard AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Prichard AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Prichard AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Prichard AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prichard AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Prichard AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Prichard 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 meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prichard AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
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Choose the Right Prichard Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the ideal plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prichard AL.