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How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Course near Prescott Valley Arizona

Prescott Valley Arizona plumbing contractor repairing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Prescott Valley AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For example, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 Degree and Certificate Options

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.

What to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Prescott Valley AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Prescott Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade 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’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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Prescott Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Prescott Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott Valley AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Prescott Valley AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to 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?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Prescott Valley Plumber Vocational Schools

Pick the Right Prescott Valley Plumber Vocational School

Picking the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Prescott Valley AZ.