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How to Select the Right Plumber Training near San Luis Arizona

San Luis Arizona plumber fixing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near San Luis AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

San Luis 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 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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

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.

Points to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

San Luis Arizona plumber installing hot water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the San Luis AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the San Luis AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the San Luis AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local San Luis AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes 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 in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local San Luis AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

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 relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near San Luis AZ, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

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Choose the Best San Luis Plumber Trade School

Choosing the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in San Luis AZ.