How to Become a Plumber near Fairbanks Alaska
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing school near Fairbanks AK. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when choosing a plumbing training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are accessible.
Becoming a Plumber in Fairbanks 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 Fairbanks AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Fairbanks 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 Fairbanks 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 Fairbanks 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.
Points to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Fairbanks AK area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired 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 an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Fairbanks AK school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of 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, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually 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 Fairbanks 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent 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 broader directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Fairbanks AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational 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 inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Fairbanks AK plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes 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 trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fairbanks AK plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fairbanks AK residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you get 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Fairbanks AK and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Plumbing School near Fairbanks AK?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Fairbanks AK and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2014 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,469, and 2016 estimates put the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 100,605, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though there was never a permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old. From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing. In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the land bridge.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
Select the Ideal Plumber Technical School near Fairbanks AK
Picking the best plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must 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 in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Fairbanks AK.
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