How to Pick the Best Plumbing Tech School near Anchorage Alaska
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Anchorage AK. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of points to consider. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.
What is 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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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 Tech Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Anchorage AK region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Anchorage AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Anchorage AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational 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 inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Anchorage AK plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Anchorage AK plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Anchorage AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Anchorage AK and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Anchorage Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the right 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 many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect 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 commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Anchorage AK.