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How to Select the Best Plumbing Vocational School near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Maricopa AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For instance, some prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole 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 additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional 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 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 Certificate and Degree 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.

What to Ask Plumbing Training Schools

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When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Maricopa AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Maricopa AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order 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 considering 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Maricopa AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational 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 working partnerships with local Maricopa AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Maricopa AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Maricopa AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Get More Info About Maricopa Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Maricopa Plumber Training School

Picking the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Maricopa AZ.