How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Vocational School near Peoria Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Peoria AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will cover 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 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 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 OptionsThere 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 Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Peoria AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Peoria AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with 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 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Peoria AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Peoria AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Peoria AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Peoria AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Peoria AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Peoria AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Peoria Plumber Trade School
Selecting the best plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Peoria AZ.