Home >> Arizona >> Phoenix >> Plumbing Schools


Request Free Info on Plumbing Training Schools Phoenix AZ 85001


How to Pick the Right Plumbing Trade School near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Arizona plumbing contractor fixing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be 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 certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, many students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

Phoenix Arizona plumber repairing 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.

What to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

Phoenix Arizona plumbing contractor replacing water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Phoenix AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate 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 determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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’re not sure, 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 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 low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Phoenix AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools 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, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction 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 students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors 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 programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Phoenix Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Phoenix Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.