How to Become a Plumber near Eielson Afb Alaska
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing school near Eielson Afb 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 a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications 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 qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.
Becoming a Plumber in Eielson Afb AK
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 Eielson Afb AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Eielson Afb 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 Eielson Afb 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 Eielson Afb 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 Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Eielson Afb AK area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Eielson Afb AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alaska Department of Education. If you don’t know, 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 Eielson Afb 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Eielson Afb AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Eielson Afb AK plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using 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 looking for. If not, ask a local Eielson Afb AK plumbing contractor if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Eielson Afb AK residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Eielson Afb AK and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Eielson Afb AK, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Plumbing School near Eielson Afb AK?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Eielson Afb AK and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
Eielson Air Force Base
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and taken off deployment in 2007. It has been a Superfund site since 1989.
Its host unit is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The 354 FW's primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range complex with air operations flown out of the two bases.
Eielson is home to the 354th Fighter Wing which is part of the Eleventh Air Force (11 AF) of Pacific Air Forces. The 354th Fighter Wing mission is "To train, deliver, maintain and support combat power across the globe while taking care of our people, their families and our infrastructure." To accomplish that mission, the wing implements flying operations, mission support, maintenance and medical care functions and is host to 10 tenant units.
Choose the Right Plumbing Trade School near Eielson Afb AK
Choosing the right plumber training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Eielson Afb AK.
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