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How to Pick the Best Plumber Technical School near Prescott Arizona

Prescott Arizona plumber fixing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Prescott AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Prescott Arizona plumber adjusting water pipe

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 Certificate and Degree 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 Plumbing Vocational Schools

Prescott Arizona plumber repairing hot water heater

Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Prescott AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Prescott AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional 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 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 schools 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 could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors 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 list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Prescott AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Prescott AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott AZ plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Prescott AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Prescott AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott AZ, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Find Out More About Prescott Plumber Trade Schools

Choose the Best Prescott Plumbing Vocational School

Picking the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Prescott AZ.