How to Choose the Right Plumber Training Course near Surprise Arizona
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Surprise AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many variables to examine. For example, some students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.
What is 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 Surprise AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Surprise 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 Surprise 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 OptionsThere are several educational options available near Surprise 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 Plumbing Trade Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Surprise AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical 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 relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Surprise AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require 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, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 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 Surprise 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Surprise AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Surprise AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Surprise AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Surprise 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 important that you get as much personalized training 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Surprise AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Surprise Plumbing Vocational School
Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Surprise AZ.