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How to Choose the Best Plumber Tech School near Goodyear Arizona

Goodyear Arizona plumbing contractor replacing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Goodyear AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to consider. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are accessible.

Becoming 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 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 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

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When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Goodyear AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Goodyear AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes 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 assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Goodyear AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Goodyear AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already 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 contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Goodyear AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend 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 receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Goodyear AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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Pick the Best Goodyear Plumbing Vocational School

Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Goodyear AZ.