How to Choose the Right Plumbing Trade School near Phoenix Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking a plumber training school. We will cover 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 instructional choices that are offered.
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.
Plumber 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Phoenix AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
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 usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Phoenix AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Phoenix AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phoenix Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.