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How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Course near Drexel Heights Arizona

Drexel Heights Arizona plumber replacing kitchen faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Drexel Heights AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.

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 Drexel Heights AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Drexel Heights 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 Drexel Heights 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 Drexel Heights 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Training Schools

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Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Drexel Heights AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Drexel Heights AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 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 Drexel Heights 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Drexel Heights AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Drexel Heights AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Drexel Heights AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Drexel Heights AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Drexel Heights AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Drexel Heights Plumbing Trade Schools

Pick the Best Drexel Heights Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the best plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Drexel Heights AZ.