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

Green Valley Arizona plumber installing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Green Valley AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

Green Valley Arizona plumber adjusting sink 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 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Programs

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 Plumbing Training Schools

Green Valley Arizona plumber installing hot water heater

Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Green Valley AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Green Valley AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Green Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical 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 referring relationships with local Green Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides 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 tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Green Valley AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Green Valley AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized 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 witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Green Valley AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Green Valley Plumbing Training Schools

Enroll in the Right Green Valley Plumber Vocational School

Picking the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Green Valley AZ.