How to Find the Best Plumber Training School near Tucson Arizona
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Tucson AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade 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 educational choices that are offered.
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 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.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Tucson AZ region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Tucson AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 don’t know, 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Tucson AZ area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Tucson AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. 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 Tucson AZ plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Tucson AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few 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? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tucson AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Tucson Plumber Training School
Picking the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Tucson AZ.