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How to Enroll in the Right Plumber Training near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona plumbing contractor repairing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Fountain Hills AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to examine. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

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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 Fountain Hills AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Fountain Hills 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 Fountain Hills 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Fountain Hills 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Fountain Hills AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Fountain Hills AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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 regulates 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 Fountain Hills 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 looking at 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 may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Fountain Hills AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Fountain Hills AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school 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, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fountain Hills AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fountain Hills AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Fountain Hills AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Learn More About Fountain Hills Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Best Fountain Hills Plumbing Training School

Picking the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Fountain Hills AZ.