How to Pick a Plumbing Vocational School near Ashland Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Ashland AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 plumber in Ashland AL will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of 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 Ashland 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 options available 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 Ashland AL area 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 Alabama 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous Alabama plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Ashland AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many Ashland AL area plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance plumbing technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited Alabama programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school near Ashland AL you’re reviewing 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 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 Alabama 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 reviewing 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 could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Ashland AL area contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating Ashland AL area trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with area plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Ashland AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Ashland AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you receive as much personalized 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 teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is in Alabama and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashland AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Plumbing Contractor?When getting ready to interview for a Plumbing position, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Plumber prospects is "What made you choose Plumbing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Plumbing Contractor, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Plumbing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Plumbing Contractor and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Ideal Plumber Tech School near Ashland AL
Selecting the best plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional plumber in Ashland AL.
Background on Ashland Alabama
Ashland is a town and former city in Clay County, Alabama, United States. The population was 2,037 at the 2010 census. The town is the county seat of Clay County.
Clay County was formed by an act of the Alabama General Assembly on December 7, 1866. Less than a year later, Ashland was established as the county seat on land donated by Hollingsworth Watts for the construction of a courthouse. Ashland was incorporated in 1871 and was named for 19th century statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate home.
During the early years, the town grew very rapidly. The town continued to grow with the opening of Alabama's first graphite mine in 1899. When World War I ended, the market for graphite dropped drastically, thus ending the town's growth phase.
The 1930s brought the Great Depression and boll weevil to Ashland that destroyed the cotton industry. Farmers were forced to abandon what had been the community's major industry. Timber, poultry, and cabinet making became the dominant industries by the beginning of the 21st century.
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