How to Choose the Right Plumber School near Princeton Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Princeton AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 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 ProgramsThere 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Princeton AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Princeton AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with 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 typically regulated and controlled 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 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Princeton AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Princeton AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Princeton AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Princeton AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Princeton 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 handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Right Princeton Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Princeton AL.