What to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Oro Valley AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade schools have attained 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 a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Oro Valley AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Oro Valley AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Oro Valley AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Oro Valley AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, confirm that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.