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Online Trade Schools with Plumbing Programs: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online plumbing trade school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, assignment requirements, and common courses offered for the field of study.

With this article you will review what things you should consider when looking at online plumbing programs. You will read about the instructional format, cost and hands on elements of these programs.

How to Select an Online Plumbing Trade School

Students considering online plumbing trade schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Online plumbing trade programs are rare, a few community colleges and online private schools do offer them. Prospective students should choose a school based on the depth of the programs offered and the degree to which the institution supports students' hands-on learning. Students should also weigh needed supplies and their costs as well as how to obtain hands-on training.

Instructional Format

Online plumbing trade programs are normally designed for students to take asynchronously, with all assignments due via e-mail or the school's online education software. Students should compare the subject offerings and course schedules of programs.

Cost of Supplies

Most online trade programs for plumbing provide a list of topics to be covered, tools or supplies that must be purchased, and materials the school will provide for students. Students will want to consider the cost of materials they have to buy themselves.

Hands-On/Apprenticeship Elements

Because plumbing is a hands-on trade, students should carefully examine how each program prepares students for actions such as cleaning and preparing pipes, setting ground grade levels and soldering joints in copper pipe to ensure an effective seal. If a program provides an opportunity for students to take part in a local apprenticeship program, that experience will be an asset to students who wish to begin a full-time career as plumbers.

Online Program Options for Plumbing

Plumbing Career Diploma

A plumbing career diploma is a trade program designed to prepare students for a full-time career as a plumber. Lessons are usually delivered via physical media such as textbooks or CDs and DVDs that are shipped to a student at the beginning of the program. Assignments may be turned in via e-mail or submitted through online education software. Tests may be timed and are often taken online, with most or all problems graded as the student submits them. Students learn about:

  • Tools and materials of the trade
  • Construction safety
  • Plumbing code reading
  • Installation of standard plumbing features
  • Irrigation systems

Schools with Online Programs in Plumbing

Penn Foster Career School offers its online students a plumber training program. Students who take part in this program may earn a Plumber Career Diploma while learning how to install, repair and maintain plumbing systems. Students who complete this six month program also receive the National Standard Plumbing Code. The program does not include state licensure or certification. Students wanting to complete this program need to have access to a computer that runs on Windows 7 or later, or OS X or later for Mac users.

Ashworth College also offers courses in plumbing that students may complete to earn a diploma in plumbing. These course offer instructions that teach students how to work with pipes, valves, water heaters, faucets and other appliances. Students in this program are given access to plumbing textbook and study guides to follow along with as they complete lessons. As with Penn Foster's program, this program does not award state licensure or certification.

There are a few schools that offer online plumbing training. These programs use lessons to teach students the skills needed to start a career as a plumber. After completing a program students may be awarded with a diploma, but they need to contact their state's licensing/regulatory board to determine what they need to do for licensure and certification.

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