How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Training near Flagstaff Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.
What is 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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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 Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive 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 school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized 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 witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Flagstaff AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Flagstaff Plumber Training School
Choosing the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program 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.