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How to Select the Right Plumbing Technical School near Marana Arizona

Marana Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Marana AZ. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

Marana 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 Marana AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Marana 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 Marana 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Marana 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 Trade Schools

Marana Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water heater

When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Marana AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Marana AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 Marana 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Marana AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Marana AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Marana AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Marana Plumber Training Schools

Enroll in the Right Marana Plumber Vocational 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 a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Marana AZ.