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How to Select the Right Plumbing Training near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska plumbing contractor fixing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Juneau AK. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that should be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree Options

There 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools

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When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Juneau AK region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Juneau AK school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering 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 regulates 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 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Juneau AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Juneau AK plumbers or plumbing professionals. 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 local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already 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 Juneau AK plumbing company if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Juneau AK residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging 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 students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Juneau AK and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Learn More About Juneau Plumbing Trade Schools

Choose the Best Juneau Plumbing Vocational School

Picking the best plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Juneau AK.