How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Training School near Gilbert Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Gilbert AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.
What is 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 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.
Plumber Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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 Plumber Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since 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 initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade schools have acquired 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 relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Gilbert AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to 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 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 schools you are reviewing 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 might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train 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 mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction 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 businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Gilbert AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area 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 under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, 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. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training 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 see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few 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? Confirm 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, verify that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Plumber Trade School
Selecting the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration 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. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Gilbert AZ.