How to Become a Plumber near West Memphis Arkansas
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing school near West Memphis AR. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many variables to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are offered.
Becoming a Plumber in West Memphis AR
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 West Memphis AR plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of West Memphis 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 West Memphis 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 Programs
There are several educational options available near West Memphis 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 Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the West Memphis AR region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the West Memphis 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 guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 check to ensure 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 West Memphis 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent 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 more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the West Memphis AR area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local West Memphis AR plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local West Memphis AR plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your West Memphis AR home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in West Memphis AR and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near West Memphis AR, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Plumbing School near West Memphis AR?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near West Memphis AR and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Enroll in the Ideal Plumber Technical School near West Memphis AR
Choosing the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in West Memphis AR.
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