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Points to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Phoenix AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Phoenix AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 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 Phoenix 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Phoenix AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Phoenix AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

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