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How to Pick the Right Plumber Training School near Benton Arkansas

Benton Arkansas plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Benton AR. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For example, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when selecting a plumbing 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 educational choices that are accessible.

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 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.

Things to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

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When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Benton AR region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Benton AR program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it 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 considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arkansas 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 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 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 course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Benton AR area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Benton AR plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Benton AR plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Benton AR home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Benton AR and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Benton AR, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers 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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Choose the Right Benton Plumber Vocational School

Selecting the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Benton AR.