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How to Select the Best Plumbing Technical School near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks Alaska plumbing contractor installing kitchen faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Fairbanks AK. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many factors to examine. For example, some students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.

Becoming a Plumber

Fairbanks Alaska plumber adjusting water 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 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 Certificate and Degree Options

There 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 Trade Schools

Fairbanks Alaska plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Fairbanks AK area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Fairbanks AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alaska Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 looking at 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 might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified 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 directory of graduates, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Fairbanks AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with local Fairbanks AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fairbanks AK plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Fairbanks AK residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers 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 assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Fairbanks Plumber Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Fairbanks Plumber Training School

Choosing the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fairbanks AK.