How to Find the Best Plumbing Training near Oro Valley Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Oro Valley AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.
Becoming 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 Oro Valley AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Oro Valley 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 Oro Valley AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumber Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Oro Valley 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 Plumbing Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Oro Valley AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Oro Valley AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. 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 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 don’t know, 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 Oro Valley 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical 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 working partnerships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. 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 area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Oro Valley AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Oro Valley AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized instruction 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 big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Oro Valley AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Oro Valley Plumbing Trade School
Selecting the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oro Valley AZ.