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How to Select the Right Plumber Technical School near Yuma Arizona

Yuma Arizona plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Yuma AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to consider. For example, some students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing trade 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 educational choices that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

Yuma Arizona plumbing contractor fixing 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.

Plumber 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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools

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Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Yuma AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have acquired 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, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Yuma AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Yuma AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Yuma AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Yuma AZ plumbing 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 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 fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding 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 have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Yuma AZ, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Best Yuma Plumber Training School

Choosing the best 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 many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Yuma AZ.