How to Choose the Best Plumber School near Dothan Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Dothan AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, some students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.
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.
Plumber Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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.
Points to Ask Plumber Training Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Dothan AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Dothan AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training program 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 trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 verify 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 program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified 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 broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within 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 professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. 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 residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased 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 difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Dothan AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dothan AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dothan Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably 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 sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.