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How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Vocational School near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona plumber fixing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many variables to consider. For example, some prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumbing training 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 training choices that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Phoenix Arizona plumber adjusting 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 Phoenix AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Phoenix 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 Phoenix AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumber Certificate and Degree Options

There are several educational options available near Phoenix 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 Trade Schools

Phoenix Arizona plumber repairing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Phoenix AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade 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 don’t know, 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 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 looking at 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 could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Phoenix AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ home. 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 important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger 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 several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Phoenix AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Learn More About Phoenix Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Phoenix Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the best plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program 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 own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.