How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Trade 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 choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of points to consider. For example, some prospective students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options 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 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.
What to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Flagstaff AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of 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 determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you don’t know, 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 course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Flagstaff AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flagstaff AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and learn 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 reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Flagstaff Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Flagstaff AZ.