How to Pick the Best Plumbing School near Goodyear Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options 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 Goodyear AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Goodyear 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 Goodyear 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Goodyear 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 obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Goodyear AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Goodyear AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 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 Goodyear 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified 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 result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Goodyear AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Goodyear AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Goodyear AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Goodyear Plumber Trade School
Picking the ideal plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Goodyear AZ.