How to Choose the Right Plumber Vocational School near Surprise Arizona
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Surprise AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.
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 ProgramsThere 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Surprise AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Surprise AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking 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 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Surprise AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Surprise AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Surprise AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Surprise AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much individualized 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 observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Surprise AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More About Surprise Plumber Tech Schools
Enroll in the Right Surprise Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed 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 plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Surprise AZ.