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How to Select the Right Plumbing Technical School near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona plumber fixing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Chandler AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have found some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Chandler Arizona plumber repairing 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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate 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 Plumbing Vocational Schools

Chandler Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water heater

Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Chandler AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive 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. Make certain that the Chandler AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional 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 don’t know, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Chandler AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Chandler AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Chandler AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Chandler AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher 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 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 students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Chandler AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Chandler Plumber Vocational Schools

Choose the Right Chandler Plumbing Vocational School

Selecting the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Chandler AZ.