How to Select the Best Plumber Training near Phoenix Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Phoenix AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber 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 training choices 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.
Topics to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Phoenix AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some 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, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 more extensive directory of alumni, 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Phoenix AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade 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 contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Phoenix AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Phoenix AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, 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 relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments regarding 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 certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Learn More About Phoenix Plumber Tech Schools
Enroll in the Right Phoenix Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Phoenix AZ.