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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Training near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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 Flagstaff AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Flagstaff 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 Flagstaff 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Flagstaff 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 Plumbing Tech Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Flagstaff AZ program and school 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 acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 Flagstaff 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Flagstaff AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Flagstaff AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Get More Info About Flagstaff Plumbing Vocational Schools

Pick the Best Flagstaff Plumber Vocational School

Choosing the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary 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. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.