How to Select the Best Plumber Technical School near Vestavia Hills Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Vestavia Hills AL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many variables to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole 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 help mold your final judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 Vestavia Hills AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Vestavia Hills 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 Vestavia Hills 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 Vestavia Hills 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 Plumbing Training Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Vestavia Hills AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Vestavia Hills AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 regulates 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 Vestavia Hills 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Vestavia Hills AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training 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 contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Vestavia Hills AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Vestavia Hills AL plumbing company 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 Vestavia Hills AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Vestavia Hills AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Best Vestavia Hills Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Vestavia Hills AL.