How to Select a Plumbing Training School near Girdwood Alaska
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Girdwood AK. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.
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 plumber in Girdwood AK will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of 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 Girdwood 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 options available 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 Girdwood AK area 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 Alaska 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 Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many Alaska plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Girdwood AK area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of Girdwood AK area plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as plumbing technology. Confirm that the program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited Alaska programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school near Girdwood AK you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled 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 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 Alaska 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 or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Girdwood AK area contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating Girdwood AK area trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with regional plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Girdwood AK plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Girdwood AK home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is in Alaska and what degrees or certifications 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 can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Girdwood AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Plumber?When preparing to interview for a Plumber position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Plumber prospects is "What made you decide on Plumbing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Plumbing Contractor, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Plumbing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent Plumber and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Right Plumbing Vocational School near Girdwood AK
Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional plumber in Girdwood AK.
Background on Girdwood Alaska
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Originally called "Glacier City," Girdwood was founded as a supply camp for placer gold miners with claims along the creeks feeding Turnagain Arm. It was renamed for Colonel James Girdwood, a Belfast-born, Scots-Irish entrepreneur and linen merchant who staked the first four gold claims along Crow Creek in 1896.
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