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How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training School near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Chandler AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many points to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Programs

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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

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When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Chandler AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Chandler AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate 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 considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you don’t know, 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Chandler AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical 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 comparing have working partnerships with local Chandler AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Chandler AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Chandler AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased 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 monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Chandler AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chandler AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Chandler Plumbing Training Schools

Choose the Right Chandler Plumbing Vocational School

Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Chandler AZ.