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How to Choose the Best Plumbing Training Course near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona plumber replacing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Chandler AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of Chandler 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 Chandler 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Chandler 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 Plumber Tech Schools

Chandler Arizona plumber repairing hot water heater

Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Chandler AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Chandler AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require 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 vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 regulates its licensing and then verify 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 Chandler 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 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 may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Chandler AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Chandler AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Chandler AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Chandler AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Chandler AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs 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 Chandler AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Chandler Plumbing Training Schools

Enroll in the Right Chandler Plumbing Vocational School

Selecting the ideal plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Chandler AZ.