How to Select the Right Plumber Training Course near Anchorage Alaska
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Anchorage AK. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many points to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified some that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.
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 Certificate and Degree 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.
Points to Ask Plumber Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Anchorage AK area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs have acquired 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, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Anchorage AK school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade 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 considering 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 may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates 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 technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Anchorage AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained 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, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Anchorage AK plumbing contracting company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Anchorage AK home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some 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? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Anchorage Plumber Trade School
Choosing the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school 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.