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How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training near Peoria Arizona

Peoria Arizona plumber fixing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Peoria AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located several that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 Peoria AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Peoria 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 Peoria 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Peoria 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Peoria AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn 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. Confirm that the Peoria AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 Peoria 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Peoria AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Peoria AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Peoria AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Peoria AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Peoria AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Peoria AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Peoria Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Peoria Plumbing Vocational School

Choosing the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Peoria AZ.