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How to Pick the Right Plumbing School near Daphne Alabama

Daphne Alabama plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Daphne AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

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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 Daphne AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Daphne 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 Daphne AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Programs

There are several educational options available near Daphne 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

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Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Daphne AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Daphne AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that 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 don’t know, 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 Daphne 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Daphne AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Daphne AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Daphne AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Daphne AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Daphne AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Daphne AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Daphne Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Best Daphne Plumbing Trade School

Picking the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, 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 provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure 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 Daphne AL.