How to Choose a Plumbing Technical School near Columbiana Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Columbiana AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 Columbiana 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 Columbiana 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 Columbiana 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are numerous Alabama plumbing tech and trade schools in the Columbiana AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many Columbiana AL area plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example plumbing technology. Make certain that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited Alabama schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school near Columbiana AL you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Columbiana AL area contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating Columbiana AL area trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Columbiana AL plumbing company 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 Columbiana AL residence. Take note 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 individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is in Alabama and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Columbiana AL, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain 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 Decide to Be a Plumbing Contractor?When prepping to interview for a Plumber job, it's important to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask Plumber applicants is "What compelled you to decide on Plumbing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Plumber, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Plumbing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding Plumbing Contractor and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Plumber Tech School near Columbiana AL
Picking the best plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional plumber in Columbiana AL.
Background on Columbiana Alabama
Columbiana is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,197. The city is the county seat of Shelby County.
Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.
An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County’s county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.
In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles. The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.
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