How to Become a Plumber near Kodiak Alaska
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing school near Kodiak 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? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For instance, some prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when picking a plumbing 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 educational options that are available.
Becoming a Plumber in Kodiak 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 Kodiak AK plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Kodiak 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 Kodiak 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 Kodiak 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Kodiak AK region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Kodiak AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure 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 schools. Also, some 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, an additional way of confirming that a vocational 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 Kodiak 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Kodiak AK area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Kodiak AK plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Kodiak AK plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Kodiak AK home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges 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 challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Kodiak AK and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kodiak AK, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Plumbing School near Kodiak AK?
If you are considering enrolling in and attending a plumber training school near Kodiak AK and are unfamiliar with the area, following is some interesting and useful background information regarding the location of your future school campus.
Kodiak (Alutiiq: Sun'aq; Russian: Кадьяк, tr. Kadʹyak) is one of seven communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was 6,130 as of the 2010 census. 2014 estimates put the population at 6,304.
After the Alaska Purchase by the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues to be the mainstay of its economy. A lesser economic influence includes tourism, mainly by those seeking outdoor adventure trips. Salmon, halibut, the unique Kodiak bear, elk, Sitka deer (black tail), and mountain goats attract hunting tourists as well as fishermen to the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains an office in the city and a website to help hunters and fishermen obtain the proper permits and learn about the laws specific to the Kodiak area.
The city has four public elementary schools, a middle and high school, as well as a branch of the University of Alaska. An antenna farm at the summit of Pillar Mountain above the city historically provided communication with the outside world before fiber optic cable was run. Transportation to and from the island is provided by ferry service on the Alaska Marine Highway as well as local commercial airlines.
Choose the Ideal Plumbing Vocational School near Kodiak AK
Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers 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 right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Kodiak AK.
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