How to Enroll in the Best Plumber School near Dothan Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Dothan AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to consider. For example, many students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found a few that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical 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 final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are accessible.
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 Dothan AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Dothan 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 Dothan 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Dothan 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Dothan AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Dothan AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 Dothan 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade 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 referring partnerships with local Dothan AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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 in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Dothan AL plumbing company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Dothan AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Dothan AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dothan Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the best plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.