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How to Choose the Right Plumbing Training School near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks Alaska plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Fairbanks AK. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

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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 Degree and Certificate 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

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When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Fairbanks AK area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Fairbanks AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

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 checking that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors 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 broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Fairbanks AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber trade 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 inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Fairbanks AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools 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 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 able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Fairbanks AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Fairbanks AK and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Get More Info About Fairbanks Plumber Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Fairbanks Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fairbanks AK.