How to Pick the Best Plumber Training Course near Fairbanks Alaska
The first step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Fairbanks AK. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options 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 Fairbanks AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Fairbanks 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 Fairbanks AK is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumber Degree and Certificate OptionsThere are several educational options available near Fairbanks 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 Plumber Vocational Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Fairbanks AK area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Fairbanks AK school 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 get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
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 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 Fairbanks 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Fairbanks AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Fairbanks AK plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job 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 using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Fairbanks AK plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fairbanks AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much individualized 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Fairbanks 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 meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Fairbanks Plumbing Training School
Choosing the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fairbanks AK.