How to Choose a Plumbing Vocational School near Ashville Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Ashville AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
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 Ashville 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 Ashville 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 Ashville 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many Alabama plumbing tech and trade schools in the Ashville AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of Ashville AL area plumbing trade schools have received 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 sure that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited Alabama programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program 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 near Ashville AL 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’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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Ashville AL area contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating Ashville AL area trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using 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 Ashville AL plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Ashville AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is in Alabama and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Ashville AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. Also, if you can only attend part-time, be 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 issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Plumber?When getting ready to interview for a Plumber job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask Plumbing applicants is "What made you choose Plumbing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Plumber, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Plumbing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Plumbing Contractor and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Ashville AL
Choosing the right plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own 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. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional plumber in Ashville AL.
Background on Ashville Alabama
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
Ashville is located at 33°50′37″N 86°15′59″W / 33.84361°N 86.26639°W / 33.84361; -86.26639 (33.843737, -86.266274).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 19.4 square miles (50 km2), of which 19.3 square miles (50 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.26 km2) (0.46%) is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
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