How to Pick the Best Plumber Training Course near Tuscaloosa Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Tuscaloosa AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumbing trade 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 educational choices that are available.
What is 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 Tuscaloosa AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Tuscaloosa 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 Tuscaloosa 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Tuscaloosa 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 obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Tuscaloosa AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order 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’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 Tuscaloosa 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Tuscaloosa AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Tuscaloosa AL plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Tuscaloosa AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Tuscaloosa AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Tuscaloosa Plumbing Trade School
Picking the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Tuscaloosa AL.