How to Pick the Right Plumbing Technical School near Flagstaff Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For example, some students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found some that are within commuting 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 must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.
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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate 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.
Points to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools
Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area, 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 crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves 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 approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course 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 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Flagstaff AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Plumbing Trade School
Picking the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly 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 evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.