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How to Select the Right Plumber Course near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley Arizona plumbing contractor installing sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near San Tan Valley AZ. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional 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.

Plumbing 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.

What to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the San Tan Valley AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the San Tan Valley AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 training programs 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 course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students 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 trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local San Tan Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local San Tan Valley AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your San Tan Valley AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much personalized 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 witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few 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?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About San Tan Valley Plumber Tech Schools

Pick the Best San Tan Valley Plumbing Training School

Choosing the best plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in San Tan Valley AZ.