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How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Technical School near Yuma Arizona

Yuma Arizona plumbing contractor installing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Yuma AZ. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Yuma Arizona plumbing contractor repairing water pipe

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 Options

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.

What to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

Yuma Arizona plumber installing water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Yuma AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Yuma AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if 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’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 schools you are looking at 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 might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate 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 Yuma AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Yuma AZ plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional 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 using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Yuma AZ plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Yuma AZ home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Yuma AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Yuma AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.

Find Out More About Yuma Plumber Tech Schools

Choose the Right Yuma Plumber Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Yuma AZ.