How to Choose the Right Plumbing Training near Dixiana Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Dixiana AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location 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 qualifications should influence your final judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.
Becoming a Plumber
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 Dixiana AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Dixiana 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 Dixiana AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumber Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Dixiana 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Dixiana AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Dixiana AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 Dixiana 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Dixiana AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught together 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 businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Dixiana AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dixiana AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Dixiana AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Dixiana AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dixiana Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed 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 prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dixiana AL.