How to Pick the Right Plumbing Technical School near Dothan Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Dothan AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found several that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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.
Plumbing 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational 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 tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Dothan AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Dothan AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job 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 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 under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Dothan AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Dothan AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn 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 schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Find Out More About Dothan Plumbing Vocational Schools
Pick the Right Dothan Plumbing Trade School
Choosing the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.