How to Select a Plumbing Tech School near Marion Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Marion AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be considered. 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 ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 Marion 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 Marion 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 Marion 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous Alabama plumbing tech and trade schools in the Marion AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous Marion AL area plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example plumbing technology. Make certain that the school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited Alabama programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school near Marion AL you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified 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 broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Marion AL area contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating Marion AL area trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships 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 build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Marion AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Marion AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience 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 evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Marion AL, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. Also, if you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Plumbing Contractor?When getting ready to interview for a Plumbing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Plumbing candidates is "What made you decide on Plumbing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Plumbing Contractor, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Plumbing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Plumber and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Right Plumbing Tech School near Marion AL
Picking the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin 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 reviewing. It’s a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional plumber in Marion AL.
Background on Marion Alabama
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Marion is the 152nd most populous city in the state of Alabama, of 573 cities.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
General Sam Houston, while between terms as 1st and 3rd President of the Republic of Texas, married Margaret Lea of Marion in the city in 1840.
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