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How to Select the Best Plumbing Tech School near San Luis Arizona

San Luis Arizona plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near San Luis AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For example, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that need to be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of San Luis 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 San Luis 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near San Luis 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.

Topics to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

San Luis Arizona plumber repairing water heater

When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the San Luis AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire 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 San Luis AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require 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 determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 San Luis 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high 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 will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the San Luis AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local San Luis AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm 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, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local San Luis AZ plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.

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

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in San Luis AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near San Luis AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain 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, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About San Luis Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Best San Luis Plumber Vocational School

Choosing the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect 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 commitment, you can become a professional plumber in San Luis AZ.