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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Training School near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near San Tan Valley AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

San Tan Valley Arizona plumber fixing water 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 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 Degree and Certificate 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 Plumber Training Schools

San Tan Valley Arizona plumbing contractor repairing hot water heater

When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the San Tan Valley AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the San Tan Valley AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you don’t know, 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 training programs 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 might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the San Tan Valley AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational 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 working relationships with local San Tan Valley AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. 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 willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your San Tan Valley AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees 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 larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About San Tan Valley Plumber Vocational Schools

Choose the Best San Tan Valley Plumber Trade School

Picking the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in San Tan Valley AZ.