How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Birmingham Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing school near Birmingham AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many points to consider. For example, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.
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 Birmingham AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Birmingham 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 Birmingham 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 Birmingham 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 Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Birmingham AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain 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 Birmingham AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
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 typically controlled and regulated 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 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 Birmingham 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may 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 broader list of graduates, which may mean 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Birmingham AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Birmingham AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job 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 working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Birmingham AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Birmingham AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Birmingham AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Birmingham AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make 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.
Plumber Class Birmingham Alabama
Selecting the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally came to this website because of your interest in Plumber Class and wanting more information on the topic Becoming A Plumbing Apprentice. But as we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any plumbing training program 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 personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Birmingham AL.
More Alabama Plumbing School Locations
Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2018 population of 209,880, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2018, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,151,801, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the United Kingdom's second largest city and then a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed its smaller neighbors as it developed into a major industrial center based on mining, the iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where low paid, non-unionized immigrants (mainly Irish and Italian), along with African-Americans from rural Alabama, who worked in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces and gave it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities of the Midwest and Northeast.:14
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its rapid growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it the nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, including rails and railroad cars, were made in Birmingham. The two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy began to diversify in the latter half of the twentieth century, as the steel mills began to shut down. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become its major economic activities. Birmingham now ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. It is also one of the important business centers of the Southeast.
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