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Questions to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Anchorage AK area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Anchorage AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alaska 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 Anchorage AK 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Anchorage AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Anchorage AK plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with 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 Anchorage AK plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Anchorage AK home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Anchorage AK and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

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