How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Vocational School near Athens Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing school near Athens AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 Athens AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Athens 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 Athens 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 Programs
There are several educational options available near Athens 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 Plumbing Technical Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Athens AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Athens AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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 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 Athens 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory 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 also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Athens AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught in conjunction 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 companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Athens AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school 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 concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Athens AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Athens AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Athens AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. 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 due to work, sickness or family issues.
Plumber Trade School Athens Alabama
Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally came to this website because of your interest in Plumber Trade School and wanting more information on the topic Accredited Plumbing Trade Schools. But as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration 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 training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Athens AL.
More Alabama Plumbing School Locations
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the state, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first governor of Alabama, and its second governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
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