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How to Choose the Best Plumber Trade School near Surprise Arizona

Surprise Arizona plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Surprise AZ. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, some students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

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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 Degree and Certificate Options

There 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

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Surprise AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical schools have received 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 pertains 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 recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

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 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 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Surprise AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Surprise AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on 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 tools 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, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Surprise AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Surprise AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak 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?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Surprise AZ, check that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Surprise Plumbing Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Best Surprise Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study 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 decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Surprise AZ.