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How to Find the Best Plumbing Trade School near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa Arizona plumber installing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Maricopa AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, 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 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 Programs

There 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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Trade Schools

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Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Maricopa AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Maricopa AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational 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 don’t know, 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Maricopa AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing 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 supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Maricopa AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one 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 experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Maricopa AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

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Pick the Best Maricopa Plumber Trade School

Selecting the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Maricopa AZ.