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How to Find the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska plumber installing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Juneau AK. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.

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 Degree and Certificate 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

Juneau Alaska plumbing contractor replacing water heater

Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Juneau AK area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Juneau AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another 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 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 program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly imperative that the schools have high 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Juneau AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most 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 inside their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Juneau AK plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools 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, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Juneau AK plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Juneau AK residence. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Juneau AK and what certifications or degrees 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 can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Juneau Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Juneau Plumber Training School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect 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, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Juneau AK.