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How to Find the Right Plumbing Training near Prescott Valley Arizona

Prescott Valley Arizona plumbing contractor replacing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Prescott Valley AZ. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. 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?

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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 Prescott Valley AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Prescott Valley 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 Prescott Valley 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Prescott Valley 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 Plumber Training Schools

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Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Prescott Valley AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. 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 as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Prescott Valley AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify 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 checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 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 Prescott Valley 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not qualified 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 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Prescott Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Prescott Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Prescott Valley AZ plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Prescott Valley AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Prescott Valley AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, check that the programs you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Prescott Valley Plumbing Trade Schools

Pick the Best Prescott Valley Plumbing Trade School

Picking the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prescott Valley AZ.