How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing School near Sun City Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Sun City AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about 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 AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Sun City 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 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 Sun City 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
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Sun City AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Sun City AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if 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 regulates 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 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Sun City AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Sun City AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Sun City AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Sun City AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Sun City AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sun City AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Sun City Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are considering 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 teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor 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 proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Sun City AZ.