How to Select the Right Plumbing Tech School near Dothan Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Dothan AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 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
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Dothan AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Dothan AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing 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’re not sure, 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical 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 companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Dothan AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Dothan AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Dothan AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Dothan AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that the schools 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, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Dothan Plumbing Training School
Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.