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How to Find the Right Plumber Training School near Sierra Vista Arizona

Sierra Vista Arizona plumbing contractor installing sink faucetThe first 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 pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many variables to examine. For example, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Sierra Vista Arizona plumbing contractor adjusting sink 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.

Plumber Certificate and Degree 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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

Sierra Vista Arizona plumbing contractor repairing hot water heater

Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Sierra Vista AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Sierra Vista AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 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 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 finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors 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 broader directory of graduates, which can produce 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 trade, but additionally 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 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. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Sierra Vista AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. 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 contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Sierra Vista AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one 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 see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to 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 evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Sierra Vista Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Best Sierra Vista Plumber Training School

Choosing the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Sierra Vista AZ.