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How to Choose the Right Plumber Technical School near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa Arizona plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Maricopa AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have located some that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Options

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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade 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 talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Maricopa AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, 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 controlled and regulated 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 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 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 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 course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Maricopa AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Maricopa AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Maricopa 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 commuting distance of your Maricopa AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the teachers and learn 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 schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Maricopa Plumbing Trade Schools

Pick the Right Maricopa Plumber Training School

Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are considering includes a considerable amount 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 provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Maricopa AZ.