How to Select the Best Plumbing Training near Trussville Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Trussville AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to examine. For example, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 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.
Plumber Degree and Certificate 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Trussville AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Trussville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Trussville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Trussville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on 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 campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Trussville AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can 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 might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training 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 observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to 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? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Trussville AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Trussville Plumbing Trade School
Choosing 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 evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Trussville AL.