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How to Select the Best Plumber Course near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona plumbing contractor repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For example, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in greater 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 offered.

What is a Plumber?

Phoenix Arizona plumber repairing sink 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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Programs

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 Technical Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Phoenix AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Phoenix AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Phoenix AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one 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 teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Phoenix AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, check that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make 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 due to work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Phoenix Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Right Phoenix Plumber Training School

Choosing the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.