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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Technical School near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage Arizona plumbing contractor replacing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near El Mirage AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.

What is 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.

Plumbing 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

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Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the El Mirage AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the El Mirage AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade 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 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high 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 will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the El Mirage AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical 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 comparing have working relationships with local El Mirage AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently 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 El Mirage AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your El Mirage AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in El Mirage AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

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Pick the Right El Mirage Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in El Mirage AZ.