How to Choose the Right Plumbing Trade School near Trussville Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Trussville AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many points to consider. For instance, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices 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 Trussville AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Trussville 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 Trussville 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 Trussville 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 Training Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Trussville AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that must 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? Numerous plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Trussville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some 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 confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 Trussville 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 of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can result in 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 help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Trussville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Trussville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Trussville 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 Trussville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Trussville AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Trussville AL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Trussville Plumber Trade School
Picking the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Trussville AL.