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How to Enroll in the Right Plumber School near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona plumbing contractor replacing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

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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 Degree and Certificate 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.

Topics to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber technical 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 overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Phoenix 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 assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually 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 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 training programs 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 course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors 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 may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure 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 vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Phoenix AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Phoenix Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Phoenix Plumber Trade School

Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.