How to Select a Plumbing Trade School near Madison Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Madison AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For example, some students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 plumber in Madison 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 Madison 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 Madison 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 Technical Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous Alabama plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Madison AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many Madison AL area plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as plumbing technology. Confirm that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited Alabama schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school near Madison AL you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Madison AL area contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating Madison AL area trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Madison AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Madison AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Alabama and what degrees or certifications they hold.
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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Plumbing Contractor?When preparing to interview for a Plumber job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Plumbing candidates is "What made you select Plumbing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Plumber, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Plumbing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Plumbing Contractor and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Right Plumber Technical School near Madison AL
Picking the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite 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 teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional plumber in Madison AL.
Background on Madison Alabama
Madison County, Alabama
Madison County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 334,811, making it the third-most populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Huntsville. The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States of America and the first President to visit the state of Alabama. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County.
Madison County is included in the Huntsville, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Madison County was established on December 13, 1808 by the governor of the Mississippi Territory. It is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.
This changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2015 population of 353,089.
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