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How to Enroll in the Right Plumber Training near Dixiana Alabama

Dixiana Alabama plumber repairing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be 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? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree 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 Plumber Tech Schools

Dixiana Alabama plumber replacing hot water heater

Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Dixiana AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Dixiana AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable 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 reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Dixiana AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber vocational programs are taught along 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 companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Dixiana AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dixiana AL plumbing 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 Dixiana AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

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

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

Find Out More About Dixiana Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Dixiana Plumbing Vocational School

Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Dixiana AL.