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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Trade School near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear Arizona plumber fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. 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?

Goodyear Arizona plumbing contractor fixing water pipe

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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Programs

There 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.

Points to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

Goodyear Arizona plumber repairing water heater

Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Goodyear AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Goodyear AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if 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 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 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 complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Goodyear AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Goodyear AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Goodyear AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving 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 a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Goodyear AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Goodyear Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Goodyear Plumber Training School

Choosing the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Goodyear AZ.