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How to Find the Right Plumber Tech School near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Oro Valley AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

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 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Options

There 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 Plumber Tech Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Oro Valley AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Oro Valley AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational 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 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 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Oro Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. 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 local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Oro Valley 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 Oro Valley AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Oro Valley AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Get More Info About Oro Valley Plumber Training Schools

Enroll in the Best Oro Valley Plumber Trade School

Selecting the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oro Valley AZ.