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Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Gilbert AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Gilbert AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational 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 check to ensure 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Gilbert AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Gilbert AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Gilbert AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Gilbert AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers 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 schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

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