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How to Choose the Best Plumbing Training School near Peoria Arizona

Peoria Arizona plumber fixing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Peoria AZ. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Peoria Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water 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 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.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Options

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.

Things to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

Peoria Arizona plumber installing water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Peoria AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Peoria AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering 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 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Peoria AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of 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 within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Peoria AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Peoria AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Peoria AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Peoria AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Peoria AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Peoria Plumbing Training Schools

Pick the Best Peoria Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the best plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Peoria AZ.