How to Choose the Right Plumbing Tech School near Lake Havasu City Arizona
The first step to becoming 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 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 located several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only qualifications that must be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about 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 options that are available.
Becoming a Plumber
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.
Plumber Certificate and Degree OptionsThere 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 Plumber Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account 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 attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Lake Havasu City AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering 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’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 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 program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Lake Havasu City AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies 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 instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Lake Havasu City AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Plumbing Training School
Picking the right plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Lake Havasu City AZ.