How to Find the Best Plumber School near Florence Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Florence AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also critical 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 ultimate decision when picking a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
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 Florence AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Florence 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 Florence 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 Florence 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 Plumber Technical Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Florence AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Florence AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 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 Florence 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 reviewing 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 may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Florence AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Florence AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Florence AZ plumbing 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 Florence AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Florence AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Florence AZ, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Florence Plumbing Trade School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Florence AZ.