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How to Find the Right Plumber Training near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage Arizona plumber fixing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near El Mirage AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For example, some students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have located several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices 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 El Mirage AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of El Mirage 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 El Mirage 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 El Mirage 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 obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the El Mirage AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the El Mirage AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate 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, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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 is responsible for 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 El Mirage 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to train 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 list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the El Mirage AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local El Mirage AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local El Mirage AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your El Mirage AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in El Mirage AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Find Out More About El Mirage Plumbing Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Right El Mirage Plumbing Training School

Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed 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 that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in El Mirage AZ.