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How to Pick the Best Plumber School near Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale Arizona plumber fixing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Scottsdale AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that should 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 judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.

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 Scottsdale AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Scottsdale 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 Scottsdale 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Scottsdale 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 Plumber Trade Schools

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When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Scottsdale AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Scottsdale AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 is responsible for 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 Scottsdale 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader 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 help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Scottsdale AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction 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 companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Scottsdale AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local 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 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 expecting. If not, ask a local Scottsdale AZ plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Scottsdale AZ home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Scottsdale AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Scottsdale AZ, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

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Pick the Best Scottsdale Plumber Vocational School

Picking the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Scottsdale AZ.