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How to Find the Best Plumber Training near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona plumbing contractor fixing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

Flagstaff Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water pipe

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.

Points to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

Flagstaff Arizona plumbing contractor replacing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Flagstaff AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some 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, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing 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’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Flagstaff AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught along 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 contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently 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 company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Flagstaff AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Flagstaff Plumbing Trade Schools

Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Plumber Vocational School

Picking the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.