How to Enroll in the Right Plumber Trade School near Catalina Foothills Arizona
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Catalina Foothills AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are available.
What is 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 Catalina Foothills AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Catalina Foothills 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 Catalina Foothills 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Catalina Foothills 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have earned 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 Catalina Foothills AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of 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, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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 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 Catalina Foothills 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Catalina Foothills AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Catalina Foothills AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult 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 students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Catalina Foothills 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 handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Catalina Foothills Plumber Trade School
Picking the right plumber training program will probably 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 examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, 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 provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Catalina Foothills AZ.