How to Become a Plumber near Pell City Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing school near Pell City AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.
Becoming a Plumber in Pell City AL
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 local Pell City AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Pell City AL 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 educational options available near Pell City AL 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 local 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 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 obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Pell City AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Pell City AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school 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 verify 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 Pell City AL 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Pell City AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Pell City AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional 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 using 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 expecting. If not, ask a local Pell City AL plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Pell City AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you get as much individualized 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Pell City AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Pell City AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Plumbing School near Pell City AL?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Pell City AL and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
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.
Enroll in the Ideal Plumber Trade School near Pell City AL
Selecting the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Pell City AL.
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