How to Enroll in the Right Plumber Vocational School near Casa Grande Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Casa Grande AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will cover 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 available.
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 Casa Grande AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Casa Grande 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 Casa Grande AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumber Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Casa Grande 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Casa Grande AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Casa Grande 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 quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you’re not sure, 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 Casa Grande 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers 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 can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Casa Grande AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. 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 area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Casa Grande AZ plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Casa Grande AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Casa Grande AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Casa Grande Plumber Trade School
Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Casa Grande AZ.