How to Find the Best Plumber Training School near Anchorage Alaska
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Anchorage AK. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.
Becoming a Plumber
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 Anchorage AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Anchorage AK 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 Anchorage AK 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Anchorage AK 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.
Things to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Anchorage AK area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Anchorage AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that 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 Alaska Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will 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 secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Anchorage AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of 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 within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Anchorage AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Anchorage AK plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Anchorage AK home. Remember 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Anchorage AK and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Anchorage Plumbing Trade School
Picking the right plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour 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 proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Anchorage AK.