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How to Choose the Best Plumber Technical School near Bryant Arkansas

Bryant Arkansas plumbing contractor repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Bryant AR. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For example, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

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

  • Apprentice. The majority of Bryant 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 Bryant AR 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 Bryant 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools

Bryant Arkansas plumbing contractor replacing water heater

Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Bryant AR area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, 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 analyze before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have attained 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 an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Bryant AR program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Arkansas 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 Bryant 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Bryant AR area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Bryant AR plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already 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 Bryant AR plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Bryant AR residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Bryant AR and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bryant AR, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make 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 because of work, sickness or family issues.

Learn More About Bryant Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Right Bryant Plumber Trade School

Choosing the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Bryant AR.