How to Select the Right Plumber Training School near Sun City West Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Sun City West AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many points to examine. For instance, some prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.
Becoming 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 Sun City West AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Sun City West 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 Sun City West 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Sun City West 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.
What to Ask Plumber Training Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Sun City West AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Sun City West AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education. If you’re not sure, 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 Sun City West 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Sun City West AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Sun City West AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sun City West AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Sun City West AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Sun City West AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sun City West AZ, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Sun City West Plumbing Training School
Selecting the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Sun City West AZ.