How to Select the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Tempe Arizona
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Tempe AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified some that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.
Becoming 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 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.
Plumber Certificate and Degree OptionsThere 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.
Questions to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Tempe AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Tempe AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Tempe AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Tempe AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Tempe AZ plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Tempe AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Tempe AZ and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tempe AZ, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Tempe Plumbing Training School
Selecting the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Tempe AZ.