How to Become a Plumber near Shelby Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing school near Shelby AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.
Becoming a Plumber in Shelby 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 Shelby AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Shelby 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 Shelby 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 Shelby 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
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Shelby AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Shelby AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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’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 Shelby 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Shelby AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Shelby AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Shelby AL plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Shelby AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger 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 teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Shelby AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Shelby AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Plumbing School near Shelby AL?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Shelby AL and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
Shelby County, Alabama
Shelby County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 195,085. The county seat is Columbiana. The county is named in honor of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky from 1792 to 1796 and again from 1812 to 1816.
Shelby County was established on February 7, 1818, and it was named for the Revolutionary War hero and the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Beginning in 1820, the first county seat was located at Shelbyville. This settlement, long defunct, was located within the modern city limits of Pelham. The first courthouse was built of logs. The seat was moved to Columbia, now Columbiana, in 1826. Initially housed in an old school building, a new brick courthouse building was completed in 1854. It is now known as the Old Shelby County Courthouse and houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The current limestone courthouse was built from 1905–06, at a cost of $300,000.
Shelby County was the home of an early inland waterway, the Coosa River, and it was also the location of a very early east-west railroad in Alabama that connected Atlanta, Georgia, with locations to its west. Shelby County was also crossed by an early north-south railroad, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, that connected Louisville, Nashville, Decatur, Birmingham, and Montgomery.
Select the Ideal Plumbing Trade School near Shelby AL
Selecting the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Shelby AL.
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