How to Find the Right Plumbing Tech School near Fountain Hills Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Fountain Hills AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.
Becoming 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 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 OptionsThere 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 Tech Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Fountain Hills AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Fountain Hills AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance 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 not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require 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 trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could 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 utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Fountain Hills AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area 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 using on the job. If you are currently 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 Fountain Hills AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers 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? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing 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, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Fountain Hills Plumbing Training School
Picking the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Fountain Hills AZ.