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How to Select the Best Plumber Course near Lake Havasu City Arizona

Lake Havasu City Arizona plumber fixing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Lake Havasu City AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only things that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final judgment 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 training choices 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 Lake Havasu City AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Lake Havasu City 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 Lake Havasu City AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There are several educational options available near Lake Havasu City 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 Tech Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Lake Havasu City AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 Lake Havasu City 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader 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 will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Lake Havasu City AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Lake Havasu City 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 important that you get as much one-on-one 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 see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Lake Havasu City AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Lake Havasu City Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Best Lake Havasu City Plumbing Training School

Choosing the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are assessing 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 should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Lake Havasu City AZ.