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How to Select the Right Plumber Technical School near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona plumbing contractor repairing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Oro Valley AZ. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Oro Valley Arizona plumber adjusting sink pipe

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 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.

What to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

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Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many 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 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Oro Valley AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training course 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 making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm 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?  Many plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Oro Valley AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Oro Valley AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some 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?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend 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 permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Oro Valley Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Oro Valley Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the ideal plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oro Valley AZ.