How to Find the Best Plumber Technical School near Florence Arizona
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Florence AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.
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 Degree and Certificate 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.
Questions to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Florence AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Florence AZ school and program are 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 get an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with 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 typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Florence AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Florence AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Florence AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Florence AZ residence. Remember 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Florence AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Florence Plumbing Training School
Picking the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important 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 assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Florence AZ.