How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Tech School near Sierra Vista Arizona
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Sierra Vista AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.
What is a Plumber?
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 Sierra Vista AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Sierra Vista 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 Sierra Vista 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Sierra Vista 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 Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Sierra Vista AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Sierra Vista AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 Sierra Vista 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 may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Sierra Vista AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Sierra Vista AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Sierra Vista AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Sierra Vista AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much personalized instruction 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Sierra Vista AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Sierra Vista Plumbing Trade School
Picking the best plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Sierra Vista AZ.