How to Select the Right Plumbing Tech School near Mesa Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Mesa AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are accessible.
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 OptionsThere 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Mesa AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade schools have received 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 an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Mesa AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Mesa AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Mesa AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm 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 in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Mesa 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 driving distance of your Mesa AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Mesa AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mesa AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Mesa Plumber Vocational School
Selecting the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Mesa AZ.