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How to Find the Best Plumbing School near Benton Arkansas

Benton Arkansas plumber fixing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Benton AR. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

Becoming 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.

Plumber 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 Tech Schools

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Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Benton AR area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Benton AR school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean 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 trade, 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?  Many plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Benton AR plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies 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 using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Benton AR plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Benton AR residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some 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?  Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Benton AR, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Benton Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Best Benton Plumber Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered 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 must that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Benton AR.