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How to Pick the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor 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 sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

Becoming 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 Degree and Certificate 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.

What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Fountain Hills AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain 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 Fountain Hills AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another 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 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Fountain Hills AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Fountain Hills AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fountain Hills AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Fountain Hills AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Fountain Hills Plumber Training Schools

Pick the Best Fountain Hills Plumbing Training School

Picking the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fountain Hills AZ.