How to Pick a Plumbing Tech School near Prattville Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Prattville AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many variables to consider. For example, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.
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 Prattville 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 Prattville 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 Prattville 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
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous Alabama plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Prattville AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many Prattville AL area plumbing vocational schools have earned 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 an individual program, for example plumbing technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited Alabama programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school near Prattville AL you’re reviewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 training programs 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 might indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Prattville AL area contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating Prattville AL area vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Prattville AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Prattville AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Alabama and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Plumber?When getting ready to interview for a Plumber position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask Plumber candidates is "What made you choose Plumbing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Plumbing Contractor, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Plumbing, in addition to a significant 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 number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Plumbing Contractor and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Plumber Trade School near Prattville AL
Choosing the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any plumber training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short 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 certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional plumber in Prattville AL.
Background on Prattville Alabama
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
Prattville contains several sites on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Daniel Pratt Historic District, Bell House and Buena Vista.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
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