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How to Find the Best Plumbing Tech School near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Green Valley AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications 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 other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

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 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.

Things to Ask Plumber Trade Schools

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Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Green Valley AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational 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 relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Green Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Green Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Green Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying 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 campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Green Valley AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Green Valley AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction 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 experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Green Valley AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain 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 issues.

Get More Info About Green Valley Plumbing Trade Schools

Enroll in the Right Green Valley Plumbing Trade School

Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Green Valley AZ.