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How to Choose the Best Plumber Training School near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Green Valley AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to consider. For example, some students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of Green Valley 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 Green Valley 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 Green Valley 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 Plumber Training Schools

Green Valley Arizona plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Green Valley AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Green Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational 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’re not sure, 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 Green Valley 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Green Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Green Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with 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 Green Valley AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Green Valley AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Green Valley AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Green Valley Plumber Trade Schools

Choose the Best Green Valley Plumbing Training School

Picking the right plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Green Valley AZ.