How to Pick the Right Plumber 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 so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are offered.
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.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Fairbanks AK region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Fairbanks AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train 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 directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate 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 vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Fairbanks AK plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fairbanks AK plumbing company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fairbanks AK home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Fairbanks AK and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Fairbanks Plumber Training School
Picking the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fairbanks AK.