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How to Choose the Right Plumbing Course near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley Arizona plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe first 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 vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many variables to consider. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

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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.

Plumber Certificate and Degree Programs

There 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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Training Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the San Tan Valley AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the San Tan Valley AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate 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 confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 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 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the San Tan Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local San Tan Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on 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 instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local San Tan Valley AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your San Tan Valley AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might 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 challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in San Tan Valley AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Find Out More About San Tan Valley Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Best San Tan Valley Plumbing Vocational School

Picking the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date 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 degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak 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 training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in San Tan Valley AZ.