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How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Vocational School near Dixiana Alabama

Dixiana Alabama plumber repairing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Dixiana AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of points to consider. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

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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.

Points to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

Dixiana Alabama plumbing contractor replacing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Dixiana AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Dixiana AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with 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 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire 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 technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Dixiana AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning 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 can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Dixiana AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Dixiana AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits 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 Trade Schools

Enroll in the Right Dixiana Plumber Training School

Picking the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dixiana AL.