How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Juneau Alaska
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Juneau AK. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have located some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.
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 Certificate and Degree 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.
What to Ask Plumber Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Juneau AK area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Juneau AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 help students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Juneau AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Juneau AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Juneau AK plumbing contracting company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Juneau AK residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Juneau AK and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, confirm 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. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Best Juneau Plumber Training School
Choosing the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Juneau AK.