How to Pick the Best Plumber School near Oro Valley Arizona
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Oro Valley AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, some students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that should be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are available.
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 Degree and Certificate 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Oro Valley AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have attained 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 a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Oro Valley AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that 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’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates its licensing and then check to ensure 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade 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 referring partnerships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build 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 up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Oro Valley AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Oro Valley AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn 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 schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Oro Valley Plumbing Trade School
Selecting the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should 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 in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oro Valley AZ.