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How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Training School near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona plumbing contractor repairing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many factors to examine. For example, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

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 Options

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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

Flagstaff Arizona plumber repairing water heater

Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Flagstaff AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, 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 trade school you’re reiewing 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs 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 trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Flagstaff AZ and what certifications or degrees 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 are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Flagstaff Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the best plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out 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 select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.