Becoming a plumber requires a combination of education, training, and experience. It can be a rewarding career path for those who enjoy working with their hands and solving problems. To become a plumber, you typically need to follow these steps:
- Obtain a high school diploma or GED: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to become a plumber.
- Get vocational or technical training: Many plumbers get their training through vocational or technical schools, community colleges, or apprenticeship programs.
- Complete an apprenticeship: Apprenticeships typically last 4-5 years and involve both classroom instruction and on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced plumber.
- Obtain a license: Most states require plumbers to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, but typically involve passing an exam and meeting other criteria, such as completing a certain number of hours of work experience.
- Gain work experience: After becoming licensed, most plumbers work for several years to gain experience and build their skills.
- Keep up with continuing education: Many states require licensed plumbers to complete continuing education courses to stay up-to-date on new technologies and techniques in the field.
Vocational or Technical Training for Plumber
Vocational or technical training programs for plumbing can provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in the field. These programs typically offer courses in topics such as:
- Plumbing systems and components: Students learn about the various types of plumbing systems and components, including pipes, fittings, valves, and fixtures.
- Blueprint reading: Students learn how to read and interpret blueprints and schematics for plumbing systems.
- Installation and repair techniques: Students learn how to install and repair plumbing systems and components, including water supply and drainage systems, gas lines, and appliances such as water heaters.
- Plumbing codes and regulations: Students learn about local and national plumbing codes and regulations that must be followed when installing or repairing plumbing systems.
- Safety practices: Students learn about safety practices that must be followed when working with plumbing systems, including proper handling of tools and materials, and use of personal protective equipment.
Vocational or technical training programs may vary in length, but typically last anywhere from a few months to a year or more. Some programs may also offer apprenticeship opportunities, which allow students to gain hands-on experience working alongside experienced plumbers.
Apprenticeship for Plumbing
Completing an apprenticeship is an important step in becoming a licensed plumber. Here’s what you need to do to complete an apprenticeship for plumbing:
- Find an apprenticeship program: There are many apprenticeship programs available for aspiring plumbers. You can check with local plumbing companies, trade schools, and unions to find an apprenticeship program that works for you.
- Apply for the apprenticeship: Once you’ve found an apprenticeship program, you’ll need to apply. Requirements may vary, but typically include a high school diploma or equivalent, and passing a basic math and reading test.
- Complete classroom instruction: Apprenticeship programs typically include classroom instruction in addition to on-the-job training. During this time, you’ll learn about plumbing theory, math for plumbing, and safety practices.
- Gain hands-on experience: As an apprentice, you’ll work under the supervision of an experienced plumber, gaining hands-on experience installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems.
- Complete required hours: Apprenticeships typically last 4-5 years, and require a certain number of hours of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. The exact requirements may vary depending on the program and location.
- Pass the exam: Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you’ll need to pass an exam to become a licensed plumber. The exam may cover topics such as plumbing codes and regulations, installation techniques, and safety practices.
Completing an apprenticeship is an important step in becoming a licensed plumber. It provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field, and can lead to a rewarding career.
Obtaining plumber license
Obtaining a license is a necessary step to become a professional plumber in most states. Here’s how to obtain a plumbing license:
- Meet the requirements: Each state has its own requirements to become a licensed plumber. Some common requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, completion of a vocational or technical training program or apprenticeship, and a certain amount of work experience.
- Pass the exam: Once you meet the requirements, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam. The exam typically covers plumbing codes and regulations, installation and repair techniques, safety practices, and other topics related to plumbing.
- Apply for the license: After passing the exam, you’ll need to apply for the plumbing license through your state’s licensing board. You may need to provide proof of your education, training, and work experience, as well as pay a fee.
- Renew the license: Plumbing licenses typically need to be renewed periodically, usually every 1-2 years. To renew your license, you may need to complete continuing education courses to stay up-to-date on new technologies and techniques in the field.
- Follow regulations: As a licensed plumber, you’ll need to follow all plumbing codes and regulations in your state. This includes obtaining any necessary permits and inspections before starting a plumbing job, and ensuring that all work meets safety and quality standards.
Obtaining a plumbing license is an important step in becoming a professional plumber. It shows that you have the knowledge and skills needed to provide safe and reliable plumbing services to customers.
Keep up with continuing education for plumbing
Continuing education is an important part of being a licensed plumber. It allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and techniques in the field. Here are some ways to keep up with continuing education for plumbing:
- Attend industry conferences: Plumbing industry conferences offer a wealth of information on the latest plumbing technologies and techniques. They also provide opportunities to network with other plumbers and industry professionals.
- Take online courses: Many plumbing associations and organizations offer online courses on a variety of plumbing-related topics. These courses can be taken at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home.
- Read industry publications: Plumbing industry publications, such as trade magazines and journals, provide information on the latest trends, technologies, and techniques in the field.
- Participate in manufacturer training programs: Plumbing manufacturers often offer training programs for their products. These programs can provide in-depth information on installation, repair, and maintenance of specific plumbing products.
- Attend local training sessions: Many plumbing suppliers, manufacturers, and trade associations offer local training sessions on plumbing-related topics. These sessions can provide valuable information and networking opportunities.
- Consult with colleagues: Discussing plumbing issues with colleagues can be an excellent way to stay up-to-date on new plumbing technologies and techniques. Colleagues may also have insights on specific plumbing challenges or solutions that they have encountered.
Overall, there are many ways to keep up with continuing education for plumbing. It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities to stay current in the field and provide the best possible service to customers.
Types of plumber jobs
There are many types of plumber jobs available, including:
- Residential plumber: A residential plumber installs, repairs, and maintains plumbing systems in homes and apartments.
- Commercial plumber: A commercial plumber works on plumbing systems in commercial buildings, such as offices, retail stores, and restaurants.
- Industrial plumber: An industrial plumber installs, repairs, and maintains plumbing systems in industrial facilities, such as factories and power plants.
- Service plumber: A service plumber provides emergency plumbing services, such as repairing burst pipes, clogged drains, and other plumbing problems.
- Construction plumber: A construction plumber installs plumbing systems in new construction projects, such as homes, apartment buildings, and commercial buildings.
- Pipefitter: A pipefitter installs and maintains pipes in industrial and commercial settings, including HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and refrigeration systems.
- Steamfitter: A steamfitter installs and maintains high-pressure steam systems, typically in industrial and commercial settings.
- Drain cleaner: A drain cleaner specializes in cleaning and unclogging drains and sewer lines.
- Gas fitter: A gas fitter installs and maintains gas lines and appliances, such as water heaters and stoves.
These are just a few examples of the many types of plumber jobs available. Each type of job may require different skills and knowledge, and may have different work environments and job duties.
Average Salary of Plumber
The average salary for a plumber can vary depending on a number of factors, including location, experience, and type of job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was $55,160 as of May 2020.
The lowest 10 percent of plumbers earned less than $33,110 per year, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $97,170 per year. Plumbers who work in the construction industry tend to earn more than those who work in other industries, such as residential or commercial plumbing.
The BLS also reports that the top-paying states for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are:
- New York
It’s important to note that salaries can vary widely within a state, and other factors such as cost of living may affect how far a plumber’s salary can go in a particular area.