How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Eagle River Alaska
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Eagle River AK. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, many students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when selecting a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options 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 Eagle River AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Eagle River 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 Eagle River 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 Eagle River 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 Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Eagle River AK area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Eagle River AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade 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 regulates its licensing and then check to ensure 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 Eagle River 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Eagle River AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship 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 relationships with local Eagle River AK plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment 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 under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Eagle River AK plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Eagle River AK home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Eagle River AK and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eagle River AK, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Best Eagle River Plumber Vocational School
Selecting the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed 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 necessity that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk 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 school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Eagle River AK.