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How to Choose the Right Plumbing Training School near Sierra Vista Arizona

Sierra Vista Arizona plumbing contractor fixing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Sierra Vista AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.

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 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.

Plumber 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.

Points to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

Sierra Vista Arizona plumber replacing hot water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Sierra Vista AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Sierra Vista AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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 making sure 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Sierra Vista AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Sierra Vista AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with 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 expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sierra Vista AZ plumbing company 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 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Sierra Vista AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Learn More About Sierra Vista Plumbing Tech Schools

Choose the Right Sierra Vista Plumbing Training School

Choosing the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Sierra Vista AZ.