How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Technical School near Eagle River Alaska
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Eagle River AK. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are available.
Becoming 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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere 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 Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Eagle River AK region, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Eagle River AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Eagle River AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Eagle River AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Eagle River AK plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
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. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Eagle River AK and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Eagle River AK, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Eagle River Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Eagle River AK.