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How to Pick the Right Plumber Vocational School near Surprise Arizona

Surprise Arizona plumber fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Surprise AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many points to examine. For instance, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber

Surprise Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water pipe

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 Programs

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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

Surprise Arizona plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down 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 school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Surprise AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high 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 use 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Surprise AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Surprise AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding 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?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Surprise AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Surprise AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Surprise AZ, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Learn More About Surprise Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Best Surprise Plumber Training School

Selecting the right plumber trade school will probably be the most important 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 assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Surprise AZ.