How to Find the Right Plumbing Technical School near Gilbert Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Gilbert AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, many students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
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 Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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 Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Gilbert AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Gilbert AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Gilbert AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Gilbert AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you 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, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Gilbert AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Gilbert Plumber Trade School
Picking the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Gilbert AZ.