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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Trade School near Avondale Arizona

Avondale Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Avondale AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have located some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only 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 qualifiers should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

Avondale Arizona plumbing contractor fixing water pipe

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 Avondale AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Avondale AZ 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 Avondale AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumber Certificate and Degree Programs

There are several educational options available near Avondale AZ 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

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Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Avondale AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade programs 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 example electrical technology. Verify that the Avondale AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona 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 Avondale 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified 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 directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Avondale AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Avondale AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already 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 Avondale AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Avondale AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one 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 students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Avondale AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Avondale Plumber Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Avondale Plumber Trade School

Selecting the best plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Avondale AZ.