How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing School near Trussville Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Trussville AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many variables to examine. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater 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 accessible.
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 OptionsThere 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Trussville AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Trussville AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational 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’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Trussville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Trussville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional 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 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 give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, 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, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Trussville AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Trussville AL, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Trussville Plumbing Vocational School
Selecting the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Trussville AL.