How to Become a Plumber near Dothan Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing school near Dothan AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many points to examine. For instance, some students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.
Becoming a Plumber in Dothan AL
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 Programs
There 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 Plumbing Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Dothan AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Dothan AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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’re not sure, 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 schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Dothan AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Dothan AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dothan AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Dothan AL residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak 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? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make 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 due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Plumbing School near Dothan AL?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Dothan AL and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
Dothan /ˈdoʊθən/ is a city in Dale, Henry, and Houston counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the largest city and county seat of Houston County, with a population of 65,496 at the 2010 census. It is located in the state's southeastern corner, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the Georgia state line and 16 miles (26 km) north of Florida. Its name derives from Genesis 37:17: "let us go to Dothan."
Dothan is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties; the small portion that lies in Dale County is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The combined population for the entire Dothan metropolitan area in 2010 was 145,639. The city serves as the main transportation and commercial hub for a significant part of southeastern Alabama, southwest Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle. Since approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, with much of it being processed in the city, Dothan is sometimes referred to as "The Peanut Capital of the World". Dothan also hosts the annual National Peanut Festival at the dedicated "Peanut Festival Fairgrounds".
The area that is now Dothan was inhabited for thousands of years by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. In historic times it was occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American tribes who were hunters and gatherers in the vast forests of pine that covered this region. These tribes had developed complex cultures, and often used to meet and camp for trading near a large spring at the crossroads of two trails.
Select the Right Plumber Trade School near Dothan AL
Picking the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Dothan AL.
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