How to Select the Right Plumbing School near Oro Valley Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Oro Valley AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.
What is 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 certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Oro Valley AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Oro Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 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 considering 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 signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, 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? A large number of plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Oro Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, 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 relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Oro Valley AZ home. 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 get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with 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 programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Oro Valley Plumbing Trade School
Picking the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Oro Valley AZ.