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How to Find the Best Plumber Trade School near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage Arizona plumber repairing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near El Mirage AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have located some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options 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 Plumber Technical Schools

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When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the El Mirage AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the El Mirage AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce 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 assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the El Mirage AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber vocational 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 inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local El Mirage AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. 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 company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to 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 relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges 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 larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and find out 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 programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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Pick the Best El Mirage Plumbing Training School

Selecting the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in El Mirage AZ.