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How to Choose the Best Plumber Training near Dixiana Alabama

Dixiana Alabama plumbing contractor installing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Dixiana AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

Dixiana Alabama plumber adjusting sink 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 Certificate and Degree Options

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.

Points to Ask Plumber Training Schools

Dixiana Alabama plumber repairing hot water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Dixiana AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Dixiana AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Dixiana AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Dixiana AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Dixiana AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.

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

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

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Dixiana Plumber Vocational Schools

Pick the Right Dixiana Plumber Vocational School

Picking the best plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dixiana AL.