How to Choose a Plumbing Tech School near Pell City Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Pell City AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many factors to examine. For instance, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only things that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, 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 Pell City 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 Pell City 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 Pell City 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 Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous Alabama plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Pell City AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous Pell City AL area plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as plumbing technology. Confirm that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited Alabama schools. Also, many states mandate 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 trade school near Pell City 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 don’t know, 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Pell City AL area contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating Pell City AL area technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with regional plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build 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 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 expecting. If not, ask a local Pell City AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Pell City AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback concerning 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? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Pell City AL, check that the schools 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, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Plumber?When getting ready to interview for a Plumbing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Plumber prospects is "What drove you to decide on Plumbing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Plumbing Contractor, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to Plumbing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are so many 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 in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent Plumber and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Find the Right Plumbing Trade School near Pell City AL
Selecting the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional plumber in Pell City AL.
Background on Pell City Alabama
Pell City, Alabama
Pell City is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Ashville. At the 2000 census the population was 9,565. At the 2010 census, the city-limit population jumped to 12,695.
Pell City was founded in 1890 by railroad investors and named after George Pell of the Pell City Iron and Land Company, one of its financial backers. The city was incorporated on May 6, 1891, but nearly failed during the Panic of 1893. However, it was revived in 1902 when Sumter Cogswell built the Pell City Manufacturing Company, which subsequently became Avondale Mills, a major landmark of the town until Thunder Enterprises, a Tennessee company, bought the building and began dismantling the factory in 2008. However, on February 14, 2008 a fire started at the mill. The fire was so large it could be seen from the Chula Vista/ Springville exit on Interstate 20 (I20). It was a sad ending for the factory. However, the smokestack and water tower still stood. The mill was the economic and social center of the town during its development and early growth. Besides the textile mill, other economic endeavors included agriculture and mercantile establishments. Large cotton, soybean, and cattle farms were located in the area. Pell City increased its size in 1956 when the nearby towns of Eden and Oak Ridge were merged with the city. The first mayor was Green Evans.
The residences of Sumter Cogswell and Green Evans (Pell City’s first mayor) are two of the earliest structures, dating from the late nineteenth century. The majority of the historic structures date from 1902 to 1905.
Ashville, Alabama, in the northern part of St. Clair County, was the only county seat from 1821 to 1907. A constitutional amendment in 1907 established Pell City as the second county seat. For many years, St. Clair County was the only county in the country with two full-service county seats. Both county seats remain operational to this day although Pell City has far outstripped Ashville in growth thanks in no small part to the convergence of both I-20 and Logan Martin Lake.
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