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How to Pick the Best Plumbing Course near Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale Arizona plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Scottsdale AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Scottsdale Arizona plumber adjusting 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 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 Degree and Certificate 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.

Things to Ask Plumber Trade Schools

Scottsdale Arizona plumber installing water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Scottsdale AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Scottsdale AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order 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’re not sure, 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 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, 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 assist students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Scottsdale AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Scottsdale AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Scottsdale 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 Scottsdale AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized training 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 students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Scottsdale AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify 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 Scottsdale AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Scottsdale Plumbing Tech Schools

Choose the Right Scottsdale Plumbing Training School

Selecting the best plumber 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 many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Scottsdale AZ.