How to Pick the Right Plumber Tech School near Anchorage Alaska
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Anchorage AK. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.
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.
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 Plumbing Technical Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Anchorage AK region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Anchorage AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program 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 trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alaska Department of Education. If you’re not sure, 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 lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can 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 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 trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Anchorage AK plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Anchorage AK plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Anchorage AK residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Anchorage AK and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Anchorage Plumber Training School
Picking the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Anchorage AK.