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How to Find the Right Plumbing Training School near Prescott Arizona

Prescott Arizona plumber repairing sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Prescott AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, 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 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 Certificate and Degree 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 Plumber Trade Schools

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Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Prescott AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before 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 focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Prescott AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to 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 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 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 training programs you are reviewing 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 signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher 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 use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Prescott AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Prescott AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment 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, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Prescott AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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Enroll in the Right Prescott Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Prescott AZ.