How to Find the Best Plumber Vocational School near Mesa Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Mesa AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For example, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.
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.
Points to Ask Plumber Technical Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Mesa AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Mesa AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, 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 securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some 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, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Mesa AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Mesa AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to 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 give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Mesa AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Mesa AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools 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 Mesa AZ, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Mesa Plumbing Trade School
Choosing the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training 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 speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Mesa AZ.