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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Trade School near Fountain Hills Arizona

Fountain Hills Arizona plumber fixing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Fountain Hills AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are available.

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.

Plumber Certificate and Degree Programs

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 Plumber Training Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Fountain Hills AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have earned 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 a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Fountain Hills AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 don’t know, 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors 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 directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Fountain Hills AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Fountain Hills AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fountain Hills AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fountain Hills AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out 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 schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet 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 considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Fountain Hills Plumber Tech Schools

Pick the Right Fountain Hills Plumbing Training School

Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should 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 duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fountain Hills AZ.