How to Choose the Right Plumber Tech School near Fountain Hills Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Fountain Hills AZ. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.
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 Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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.
Points to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Fountain Hills AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Fountain Hills AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional 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’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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Fountain Hills AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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 under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fountain Hills AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fountain Hills AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher 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 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 teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, 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? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. 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 emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Fountain Hills Plumbing Vocational School
Selecting the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Fountain Hills AZ.