How to Enroll in the Best Plumber 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 so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more 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 available.
Becoming 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.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree OptionsThere 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 Plumbing Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down 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 program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while 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 added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Juneau AK school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alaska Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Juneau AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies 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 valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Juneau AK plumbing contractor if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, 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, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Juneau AK and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, 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 emergencies.
Choose the Best Juneau Plumber Trade School
Choosing the right plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Juneau AK.