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How to Find the Right Plumbing Training Course near Nogales Arizona

Nogales Arizona plumber replacing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Nogales AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover 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 choices that are offered.

What is 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 Nogales AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Nogales 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 Nogales 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Nogales 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 Vocational Schools

Nogales Arizona plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Nogales AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Nogales AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable 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?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational 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 don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 Nogales 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 reviewing 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 may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Nogales AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Nogales AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Nogales AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Nogales AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging 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 instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Nogales AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Nogales AZ, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Nogales Plumber Training Schools

Enroll in the Right Nogales Plumber Vocational School

Picking the right plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Nogales AZ.