How to Choose the Right Plumbing Training School near Florence Arizona
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Florence AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Florence AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs 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 a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Florence AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with 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’re not sure, 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train 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 can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Florence AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Florence AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Florence AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Florence AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Florence AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating 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, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Florence Plumber Training School
Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training 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 teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Florence AZ.