How to Choose the Right Plumber Technical School near San Tan Valley Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near San Tan Valley AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.
What is a Plumber?
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 Tan Valley AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of San Tan Valley 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 Tan Valley 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near San Tan Valley 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 Plumbing Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the San Tan Valley AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received 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 pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the San Tan Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training program 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 trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you’re not sure, 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 San Tan Valley 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the San Tan Valley AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local San Tan Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed 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 concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local San Tan Valley 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 San Tan Valley AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in San Tan Valley AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right San Tan Valley Plumbing Training School
Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in San Tan Valley AZ.