How to Pick the Best Plumbing Tech School near Juneau Alaska
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Juneau AK. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of points to examine. For example, some potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in greater 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 accessible.
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 Juneau AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Juneau 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 Juneau 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 ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Juneau 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Juneau AK area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Juneau AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alaska Department of Education. If you don’t know, 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 Juneau 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 complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Juneau AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Juneau AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Juneau AK plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Juneau AK residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few 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 comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Juneau AK and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Get More Info About Juneau Plumber Trade Schools
Pick the Best Juneau Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the best plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin 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 considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Juneau AK.