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How to Select the Best Plumber Training School near Catalina Foothills Arizona

Catalina Foothills Arizona plumbing contractor repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Catalina Foothills AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For example, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

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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 Degree and Certificate Programs

There 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.

Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

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When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Catalina Foothills AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Catalina Foothills AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it 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 checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Catalina Foothills AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Catalina Foothills AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Catalina Foothills AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Catalina Foothills AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Catalina Foothills Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Plumber Trade School

Choosing the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few 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, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Catalina Foothills AZ.