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How to Become a Plumber near Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage AK plumber installing faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing school near Anchorage AK. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many factors to examine. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.

Becoming a Plumber in Anchorage AK

Anchorage AK plumber repairing water mainAlmost 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 Anchorage AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Anchorage 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 Anchorage 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Anchorage 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 Training Schools

Anchorage AK plumbing school graduate with sinkNow that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Anchorage AK region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Anchorage AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 Anchorage 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 considering 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 may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent 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 alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Anchorage AK area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Anchorage AK plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Anchorage AK plumbing contracting company if they can give you some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Anchorage AK home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It’s desirable that you receive 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. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Anchorage AK and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anchorage AK, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.

Considering Plumbing School near Anchorage AK?

If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Anchorage AK and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016,[7] it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.[8]

Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south.[9] The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base,[10] several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.[11]

Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within ​9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world.[12] For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.[13]

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Enroll in the Ideal Plumbing Vocational School near Anchorage AK

plumbing tools of the trade in Anchorage AKPicking the ideal plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Anchorage AK.

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