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How to Find the Right Plumbing Training School near Lake Havasu City Arizona

Lake Havasu City Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Lake Havasu City AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more 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 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 Programs

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.

What to Ask Plumber Trade Schools

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Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Lake Havasu City AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Lake Havasu City AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must 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 relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges 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 some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Lake Havasu City AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, check that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

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Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the best plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Lake Havasu City AZ.