How to Find the Right Plumbing Trade School near Oro Valley Arizona
The initial step to becoming 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 undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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 Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Oro Valley AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Oro Valley AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Oro Valley AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Oro Valley AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Oro Valley AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, verify that the programs 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, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Oro Valley Plumber Vocational Schools
Pick the Right Oro Valley Plumbing Vocational School
Selecting the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Oro Valley AZ.