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How to Find the Right Plumber Training Course near Eagle River Alaska

Eagle River Alaska plumber installing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in 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 so many variables to evaluate. For example, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will talk about 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 instructional options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

Eagle River Alaska plumbing contractor fixing sink pipe

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.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There 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.

Things to Ask Plumbing Training Schools

Eagle River Alaska plumbing contractor replacing hot water heater

When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Eagle River AK area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Eagle River AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 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 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Eagle River AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Eagle River AK plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment 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 expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eagle River AK plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Eagle River AK home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Eagle River AK and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Eagle River AK, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Eagle River Plumber Tech Schools

Pick the Right Eagle River Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Eagle River AK.