How to Select the Best Plumber Tech School near Flagstaff Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumber trade 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 choices 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 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Training Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Flagstaff AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 graduates, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak 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? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Flagstaff Plumber Vocational School
Picking the ideal plumber trade school will probably 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 among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.