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How to Pick the Right Plumber Vocational School near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona plumber repairing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Glendale AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

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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 Glendale AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Glendale 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 Glendale 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Glendale 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 Training Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Glendale AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program 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. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Glendale AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 Glendale 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Glendale AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction 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 contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Glendale AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Glendale AZ plumbing company 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 Glendale AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees 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 teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Glendale AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Glendale AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Glendale Plumbing Training Schools

Enroll in the Best Glendale Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Glendale AZ.