How to Choose the Best Plumber Course near Dothan Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Dothan AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For example, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified some that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.
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.
Points to Ask Plumber Tech Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Dothan AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Dothan AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Dothan AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dothan AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Dothan AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers 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? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dothan Plumber Training School
Selecting the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.