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How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training Course near Princeton Alabama

Princeton Alabama plumber installing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Princeton AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For example, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

Princeton Alabama plumbing contractor fixing sink pipe

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 Degree and Certificate 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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Training Schools

Princeton Alabama plumbing contractor installing water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Princeton AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 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 variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on 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 approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, 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 considering 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent 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 directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Princeton AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Princeton AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools 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, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Princeton AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors 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 meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Princeton Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Princeton Plumber Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Princeton AL.