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How to Select the Best Plumber Course near Tempe Arizona

Tempe Arizona plumber repairing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Tempe AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications 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 other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address 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 training options that are available.

What is 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 Tempe AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Tempe 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 Tempe 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Tempe 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 Trade Schools

Tempe Arizona plumber replacing water heater

Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Tempe AZ area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade programs have received 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 instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Tempe AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 check to ensure 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 Tempe 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 complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Tempe AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Tempe AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art 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 looking for. If not, ask a local Tempe AZ plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Tempe AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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 training 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Tempe AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

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Enroll in the Right Tempe Plumber Trade School

Choosing the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Tempe AZ.