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How to Choose the Best Plumber Technical School near Trussville Alabama

Trussville Alabama plumber fixing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Trussville AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, some students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.

Becoming 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 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 Degree and Certificate Programs

There 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Trussville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many 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 a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Trussville AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 is responsible for 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Trussville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Trussville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Trussville AL plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Trussville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized instruction 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 experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Trussville AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Trussville AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

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Choose the Right Trussville Plumber Trade School

Selecting the ideal plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Trussville AL.