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How to Choose the Best Plumbing Tech School near Tucson Arizona

Tucson Arizona plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Tucson AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are accessible.

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 Tucson AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Tucson 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 Tucson 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Tucson 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 Plumbing Trade Schools

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When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Tucson AZ region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Tucson AZ program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of 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, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 Tucson 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 reviewing 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 might indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Tucson AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction 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 labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Tucson AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Tucson AZ plumbing company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Tucson AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Tucson AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tucson AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Tucson Plumbing Training Schools

Choose the Best Tucson Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Tucson AZ.