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Things to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Apache Junction AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Apache Junction AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 Apache Junction AZ 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Apache Junction AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade 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 reviewing have working relationships with local Apache Junction AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. 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 Apache Junction AZ plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Apache Junction AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Apache Junction AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, 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 due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

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