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How to Choose the Best Plumbing Technical School near Florence Arizona

Florence Arizona plumbing contractor fixing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Florence AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to consider. For example, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

Florence Arizona plumber repairing sink pipe

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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There 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.

Points to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

Florence Arizona plumbing contractor installing water heater

When you have made a decision to earn 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 Florence AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Florence AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in 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 graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Florence AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Florence AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date 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 with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Florence AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Florence AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out 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 handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Florence Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Right Florence Plumbing Vocational School

Picking the right 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 many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk 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 school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Florence AZ.