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How to Find the Right Plumbing School near Daphne Alabama

Daphne Alabama plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Daphne AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have found a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.

Becoming 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 Options

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.

Topics to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Daphne AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Daphne AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually 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 check to ensure 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Daphne AL area.

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

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Daphne AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Daphne AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Daphne AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Daphne AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Daphne Plumbing Training Schools

Choose the Right Daphne Plumbing Training School

Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Daphne AL.