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How to Select the Best Plumber Tech School near Prescott Arizona

Prescott Arizona plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Prescott AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of variables to consider. For example, many prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.

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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Programs

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 Tech Schools

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Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Prescott AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Prescott AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 don’t know, 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 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Prescott AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Prescott AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes 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 trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Prescott AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors 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?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Prescott Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Right Prescott Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Prescott AZ.