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How to Enroll in the Right Plumber Tech School near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley Arizona plumber fixing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near San Tan Valley AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk 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 Options

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.

Topics to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the San Tan Valley AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the San Tan Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the San Tan Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local San Tan Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus 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, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local San Tan Valley AZ plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.

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 residence. 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 desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in San Tan Valley AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About San Tan Valley Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best San Tan Valley Plumber Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in San Tan Valley AZ.