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How to Pick the Best Plumber Vocational School near Yuma Arizona

Yuma Arizona plumbing contractor fixing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Yuma AZ. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of variables to consider. For example, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of Yuma 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 Yuma 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Yuma 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 Training Schools

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Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Yuma AZ area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 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 other variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Yuma AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering 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 Yuma 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Yuma AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Yuma AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment 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 up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Yuma AZ plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Yuma AZ home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Yuma AZ and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Yuma AZ, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Yuma Plumber Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Yuma Plumber Trade School

Choosing the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching 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 length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Yuma AZ.