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How to Pick the Best Plumbing Technical School near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage Arizona plumber repairing 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 select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the El Mirage AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 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 need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the El Mirage AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually regulated and controlled 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean 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 grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the El Mirage AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local El Mirage AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local El Mirage AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must 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 moving costs there may be higher 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few 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 evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing provide 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About El Mirage Plumbing Training Schools

Pick the Best El Mirage Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty 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 choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in El Mirage AZ.