How to Pick the Best Plumber Vocational School near Princeton Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Princeton AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many variables to consider. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options 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 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Training Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Princeton AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Princeton AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Princeton AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Princeton AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing 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 instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Princeton AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Princeton AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Princeton AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure 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 Princeton AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Choose the Right Princeton Plumber Vocational School
Selecting 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 several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Princeton AL.