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How to Select the Best Plumber School near Sierra Vista Arizona

Sierra Vista Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Sierra Vista AZ. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

Sierra Vista 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 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 Options

There 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

Sierra Vista Arizona plumber installing hot water heater

Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Sierra Vista AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Sierra Vista AZ school is 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 receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Sierra Vista AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade 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 within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Sierra Vista AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. 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 must be within driving distance of your Sierra Vista AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Sierra Vista AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Get More Info About Sierra Vista Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Sierra Vista Plumber Vocational School

Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Sierra Vista AZ.