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How to Choose the Best Plumbing Trade School near Prescott Arizona

Prescott Arizona plumbing contractor installing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Prescott AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of Prescott 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 AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Options

There are several educational options available near Prescott 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 Plumbing Trade Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Prescott AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Prescott AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

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 regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct 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 list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Prescott AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade programs are taught along 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 companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Prescott AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Prescott AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger 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 students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Prescott AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Find Out More About Prescott Plumber Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Prescott Plumber Training School

Picking the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prescott AZ.