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How to Pick the Best Plumbing Vocational School near Dixiana Alabama

Dixiana Alabama plumber installing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Dixiana AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many points to consider. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will cover 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 offered.

What is a Plumber?

Dixiana Alabama plumbing contractor repairing 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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate 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 Plumbing Technical Schools

Dixiana Alabama plumber replacing water heater

When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Dixiana AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, 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 research prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Dixiana AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Dixiana AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational 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 companies or trade unions. Check 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 supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school 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 regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Dixiana AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Dixiana Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Right Dixiana Plumber Training School

Picking the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training 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.