Plumbing businesses and aspiring plumbers alike have a wide range of reasons for using trade schools for training. Still, most of them will admit that a significant factor is increasing their revenue. However, as the saying goes, one must spend money before they can make money. Traditional brick-and-mortar trade schools are typically the most expensive since the institutions have to provide faculty, learning materials, as well as the facilities themselves. Adding to these expenses are the often hidden costs of room and board and transportation to and from the school. Not to mention books, which sometimes are included with tuition but also are sold at high prices with little resale value at other places. Another concern for apprentices and employers alike is many of these brick-and-mortar institutions take these apprentices away from the workforce for a period of time. This system forces both the apprentices and the businesses to miss out on opportunities to make money.
Tuition costs at programs around the country vary from state to state and institution to institution. Some of the more costly programs include one trade school in California, which charges between $14,675 and $31,928 for a 9-to-12-month course. Of course, there are more affordable programs in other parts of the country. A college in Georgia offers a Plumbing Service and Systems Specialist Certificate Program, ($1,942 for one semester) a Residential/ Commercial Plumbing Technician Certificate Program, ($3,200 for two semesters) and a Plumbing / Pipefitting Technology Diploma Program ($6,768 for four semesters). Even the more affordable brick-and-mortar plumbing schools can charge over $1,000 for less than a month of training.
Financial aid programs such as Pell grants and scholarships for the children of union members do exist to assist with the costs. Nevertheless, trade students and businesses still find themselves paying an average of $7,400 for public, two-year institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
There are many advantages to enrolling in online training. A few institutions offer similar plumbing training for under $1,000. Online training also removes the costs of transportation and usually lets students train on their own time rather than sticking to a rigid course schedule. Some drawbacks of online training are the limitations that come with technology, such as internet outages and computer problems. Another issue is that online training hinders hands-on experience that students likely need. Online students should also expect a higher workload and more reading to show they have properly grasped the course material.
Alpha Tradesmen Academy seeks to bridge the gap between the two types of trade schools and bring owners and apprentices the best of both worlds. The site offers 24/7 online access to learning materials that allows apprentices to further their training while gaining hands-on experience and earning money with their company. The cost of tuition is $250 for the initial Certified Plumbing Service Technician badge, which gives students a well-rounded introduction to the trade. Additional courses cover more specialized areas, such as drain cleaning and leak source diagnostic.