How to Choose the Best Plumber Training School near Gilbert Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Gilbert AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many points to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are accessible.
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 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Gilbert AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn 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 recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you don’t know, 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce 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 assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check 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 providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, 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 residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized training 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Gilbert AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Gilbert Plumber Training School
Selecting the best plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Gilbert AZ.