Becoming a Plumber
Plumbers install, maintain and repair plumbing systems in homes, businesses and other structures. They also work with sewage and drainage.
Plumbers must have a high school diploma and an apprenticeship. This usually takes between two and five years, and includes on-the-job training as well as education at a college or technical school.
Plumbers install, repair and maintain water pipes, heating systems and other plumbing fixtures in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They also maintain sewage and water drainage systems.
Working as a plumber is a highly specialized and satisfying career that requires excellent problem-solving skills, mechanical aptitude and attention to detail. Many plumbers remain in the trade for their entire careers and enjoy a high level of job satisfaction.
The work environment of a plumber varies depending on the type of industry they work in. Some plumbers travel from site to site, while others have office jobs and work from home. They are often required to work at heights and in cramped spaces, and may work outside during inclement weather.
To work as a plumber, you must complete an apprenticeship program, which usually lasts four to five years and involves classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training. You must also pass an exam that tests your knowledge of plumbing systems and regulations in your state.
You also need a valid license to work independently. Most states require this certification before you can start work as a plumber.
Your job duties include interpreting blueprints and building specifications to draw a map layout, documenting problems, inspecting plumbing systems and ensuring they are working properly. You also need to know how to remove clogs in drains and ensure that the water flow is unimpeded.
Other responsibilities as a plumber include picking material, cleaning up shop / worksites, delivering parts and assisting other plumbers as needed. You may also provide recommendations and related pricing to customers.
As a plumber, you can expect to earn an average of about $35,000 per year. Your salary depends on the type of business sector you work in, your qualifications and experience, and your specialization. Your remuneration package can increase as you obtain a license and develop your career.
If you are interested in becoming a plumber, you will need to attend school and complete an apprenticeship. The education and training requirements for a plumbing career vary by state and region.
A high school diploma or a GED certificate is the minimum educational requirement for most states. Many vocational schools offer short programs that focus on the plumbing trade and are less expensive than traditional four-year colleges. It is also possible to obtain financial aid for a vocational program.
To be licensed as a plumber in many states, you must first complete a certain number of hours of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Afterward, you must take an exam to get your license.
An apprenticeship is the preferred way for aspiring plumbers to gain formal training. Apprenticeships involve both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed plumber, called a journey person. After completing your apprenticeship, you will receive a journey person certificate and can begin working on jobs as a plumbing contractor.
You can start your training as a journey person by applying for an apprenticeship through the United Association unions or through local trade unions. These apprenticeships are usually five years in length and include 1,230 hours of classroom instruction and 10,000 hours of on-the-job training.
Most apprenticeships are paid, and wages begin at about 50 percent of a journey person’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full wage. You will be required to work under the supervision of a senior trades person, who is responsible for overseeing your work and ensuring that it meets all safety standards.
Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you can pursue certification to enhance your professional reputation. Certified plumbers are recognized as skilled professionals and often enjoy better job opportunities, higher salaries and a more stable work environment.