How to Find the Best Plumber Training near Eagle River Alaska
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Eagle River AK. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located several that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when picking a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional 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 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 Certificate and Degree 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Eagle River AK area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Eagle River AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Eagle River AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade 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 provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Eagle River AK plumbing contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Eagle River AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Eagle River AK and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs 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 Eagle River AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find Out More About Eagle River Plumbing Trade Schools
Enroll in the Right Eagle River Plumber Trade School
Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Eagle River AK.