How to Choose the Right Plumbing Technical School near Maricopa Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Maricopa AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For example, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located several that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.
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 Maricopa AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Maricopa 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 Maricopa AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumber Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Maricopa 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 Technical Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Maricopa AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Maricopa AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 Maricopa 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 broader directory of graduates, 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Maricopa AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Maricopa AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Maricopa AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Maricopa AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Maricopa AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Maricopa Plumber Vocational School
Selecting the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Maricopa AZ.