How to Pick the Right Plumber School near Flagstaff Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many factors to examine. For example, many students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.
Becoming 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 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 Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Flagstaff AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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’re not sure, 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, 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 industry, 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? Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade 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 valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Flagstaff AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Flagstaff Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.