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How to Pick the Best Plumbing Course near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Chandler AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many points to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found several that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Chandler Arizona plumber repairing sink 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 Degree and Certificate 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.

What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

Chandler Arizona plumber installing hot water heater

When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Chandler AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Chandler AZ program and school 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 ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade 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 don’t know, 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 reviewing 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 dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Chandler AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Chandler AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Chandler AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, 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 moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Chandler AZ and what certifications or degrees 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 can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chandler AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Chandler Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Best Chandler Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Chandler AZ.