Whether you are pursuing plumbing as a first career or are making the change later in life, now is certainly an exciting time. You are about to start a training program where you will be learning new skills for an industry that is expected to grow quickly over the next several years. The best way you can prepare yourself to take advantage of all of the upcoming job openings in the plumbing trade is to start by attending a high-quality plumbing school that will prepare you for an apprenticeship. Depending on where you live, you may have the option of a vocational or technical school, a community college, and other types of schools. All of these can provide the education you need, but here are some top things to consider when choosing a plumbing school.
The first requirement for any school—vocational/technical, community college, or otherwise—is that it needs to be accredited. Accreditation indicates that the school has been evaluated by a qualified agency and has been shown to meet certain a certain standard for quality. Plumbing schools may be accredited at the national level, at the regional level, or by an agency that specifically evaluates trade schools. Check the website of the U.S. Department of Education for more information about accreditation.
Type of Credential
Most plumbing schools award either a certificate, a diploma, or an associate’s degree. Certificate and diploma programs usually take about one year and consist of courses that are mainly centered on skills required for the trade. Associate’s degree programs typically take two years to complete and include both more advanced plumbing courses and more general education courses.
The instructors at the school should be licensed plumbers themselves. Ideally, they should also be trained educators.
Although you will enter an apprenticeship program after graduation, you should still look for a plumbing school that provides plenty of practical training. Visit the school if possible to make sure that it has up-to-date tools and equipment that students can use to practice their new skills.
Student Support Services
Excellent support services are key to student success in any type of school or training program. At the very least, plumbing schools should offer academic services for students who may need additional support in the classroom and placement services to help graduates find appropriate apprenticeships.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers who also have knowledge and experience in welding will have the best job prospects over the next several years. Look for a school that offers welding classes as part of the plumbing program.
Plumbing students have many options for their pre-apprenticeship training. Keeping these six things in mind will help you find the program that can best prepare you for future success.