How to Find the Best Plumber Technical School near Gilbert Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Gilbert AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.
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 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Tech Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Gilbert AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Gilbert AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean 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 Gilbert AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Gilbert AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently 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 Gilbert AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Gilbert AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Gilbert Plumbing Trade School
Choosing the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Gilbert AZ.