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How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Vocational School near Yuma Arizona

Yuma Arizona plumbing contractor replacing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Yuma AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about 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 educational 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 Certificate and Degree 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 Plumbing Technical Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Yuma AZ area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Yuma AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many 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 confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 is responsible for 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 schools you are looking at 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 may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Yuma AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction 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 labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Yuma AZ plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Yuma AZ plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Yuma AZ home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, 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?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Yuma AZ, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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Pick the Right Yuma Plumber Vocational School

Picking the ideal plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Yuma AZ.