How to Pick the Best Plumbing Technical School near Dothan Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Dothan AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have found several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when choosing 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 options that are available.
What is 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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate 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.
What to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once 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 tech and trade schools in the Dothan AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Dothan 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Dothan AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dothan AL plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Dothan AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging 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 students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to 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 schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dothan Plumbing Trade School
Picking the ideal plumber trade school 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 factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are examining 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 teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.