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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert Arizona plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Gilbert AZ. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

Gilbert Arizona plumbing contractor adjusting sink pipe

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of Gilbert 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 Gilbert 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Gilbert 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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Training Schools

Gilbert Arizona plumber installing water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Gilbert AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Gilbert AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 Gilbert 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Gilbert AZ area.

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

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Gilbert AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Gilbert AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Gilbert Plumbing Training Schools

Choose the Right Gilbert Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the right plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Gilbert AZ.