How to Find the Best Plumbing Vocational School near Phoenix Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will discuss 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 instructional options that are accessible.
What is 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 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 Certificate and Degree OptionsThere 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Phoenix AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking 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 regulates 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher 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 can 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? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to 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 are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain 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, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Phoenix Plumber Trade School
Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.