How to Pick the Best Plumbing Trade School near Decatur Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing school near Decatur AL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For example, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when choosing 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 instructional 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 Decatur AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Decatur 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 Decatur 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 Decatur 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
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Decatur AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Decatur AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled 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 Decatur 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent 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 alumni, which can produce 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Decatur AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade 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 businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Decatur AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Decatur AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Decatur AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Decatur AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Decatur AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Plumber Trade Schools Near Me Decatur Alabama
Picking the best plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally came to this website because of your interest in Plumber Trade Schools Near Me and wanting more information on the topic Where to Find Accredited Plumbing Training Near Me. But as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure 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 Decatur AL.
More Alabama Plumbing School Locations
Decatur is a city in Morgan and Limestone counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The city, nicknamed "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County. The population in 2010 was 55,683.
Decatur is also the core city of the two-county large Decatur, Alabama metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 153,374 in 2013. Combined with the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the two create the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area, of which Decatur is the second-largest city.
Like many southern cities in the early 19th century, Decatur's early success was based upon its location along a river. Railroad routes and boating traffic pushed the city to the front of North Alabama's economic atmosphere. The city rapidly grew into a large economic center within the Tennessee Valley and was a hub for travelers and cargo between Nashville and Mobile, as well as Chattanooga and New Orleans. Throughout the 20th century, the city experienced steady growth, but was eclipsed as the regional economic center by the fast-growing Huntsville during the space race. The city now finds its economy heavily based on manufacturing, mining, cargo transit, chemical, and high-tech companies such as Vulcan Materials,Daikin,Toray,United Launch Alliance.
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