How to Pick the Right Plumber Technical School near Mesa Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Mesa AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.
What is 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 Mesa AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Mesa 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 Mesa 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Mesa 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 Plumber Trade Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Mesa AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Mesa AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you’re not sure, 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 Mesa 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Mesa AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Mesa AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build 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 using 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 looking for. If not, ask a local Mesa AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Mesa AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving 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 training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Mesa AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Mesa AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make 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, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Mesa Plumber Trade School
Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Mesa AZ.