How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Trade School near Dixiana Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Dixiana AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.
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 Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Dixiana AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Dixiana AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Dixiana AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Dixiana AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check 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 give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Dixiana AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get 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 big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk 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? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, verify 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Dixiana Plumbing Training Schools
Enroll in the Right Dixiana Plumber Training School
Selecting the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Dixiana AL.