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How to Find the Best Plumber Training School near Benton Arkansas

Benton Arkansas plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Benton AR. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some prospective students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Benton Arkansas plumber 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 Benton AR plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Benton AR 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 Benton AR 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Benton AR 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 Vocational Schools

Benton Arkansas plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Benton AR area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about 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. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Benton AR school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to 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 usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arkansas Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 Benton AR 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Benton AR area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Benton AR plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Benton AR plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Benton AR residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition charges 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 couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Benton AR and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Benton AR, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Benton Plumbing Tech Schools

Pick the Best Benton Plumbing Trade School

Picking the ideal plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Benton AR.