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How to Choose the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Queen Creek Arizona

Queen Creek Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Queen Creek AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only things that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Queen Creek Arizona plumber adjusting sink 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 Queen Creek AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Queen Creek 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 Queen Creek 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 Queen Creek 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

Queen Creek Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water heater

When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Queen Creek AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Queen Creek AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

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 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 Queen Creek 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative 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 employ 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 also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Queen Creek AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Queen Creek AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Queen Creek AZ plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Queen Creek AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Queen Creek AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify 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 Queen Creek AZ, check that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Queen Creek Plumber Trade Schools

Pick the Best Queen Creek Plumbing Trade School

Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Queen Creek AZ.