How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training School near El Mirage Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near El Mirage AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only qualifications that need to be considered. Also important 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 ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.
What is a Plumber?
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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school 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 the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the El Mirage AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course 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 vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 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 schools you are looking at 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 might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct 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 graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good 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? A large number of plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local El Mirage AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area 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 on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local El Mirage AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your El Mirage AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in El Mirage AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Right El Mirage Plumber Training School
Picking the right plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction 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 length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in El Mirage AZ.