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How to Choose the Best Plumbing Tech School near Tempe Arizona

Tempe Arizona plumber repairing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Tempe AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are available.

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 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 Certificate and Degree 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 Tech Schools

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When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Tempe AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program 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 other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before selecting a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Tempe AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require 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 vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Tempe AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Tempe AZ plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Tempe AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Tempe AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized instruction 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 experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Tempe AZ and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tempe AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Tempe Plumber Trade Schools

Choose the Right Tempe Plumber Training School

Choosing the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Tempe AZ.