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How to Pick the Best Plumbing Trade School near Dixiana Alabama

Dixiana Alabama plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Dixiana AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

Dixiana Alabama plumbing contractor adjusting water pipe

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 Degree and Certificate Programs

There 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 Training Schools

Dixiana Alabama plumber installing water heater

Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Dixiana AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although 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 added qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Dixiana AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 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 training programs you are considering 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 signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Dixiana AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Dixiana AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Dixiana AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Dixiana AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training 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 big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Dixiana AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Dixiana Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Dixiana Plumbing Trade School

Picking the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Dixiana AL.