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How to Select the Best Plumber Tech School near Princeton Alabama

Princeton Alabama plumber replacing kitchen faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Princeton AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have located several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.

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 Princeton AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Princeton 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 Princeton AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Options

There are several educational options available near Princeton 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 Plumber Technical Schools

Princeton Alabama plumbing contractor replacing water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Princeton AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Princeton AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 Princeton 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Princeton AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Princeton AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes 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 trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Princeton AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Princeton AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Princeton AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Princeton Plumber Trade Schools

Pick the Best Princeton Plumber Trade School

Picking the best plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration 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. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Princeton AL.