So you want to become a plumber? You probably think it’s a lot of hard work, and it is. But if you’re looking for a job that can be extremely rewarding, both financially and personally, then plumbing might just be the career for you.
Employers are always looking for skilled employees.
For this reason, we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to get started on the path to becoming a certified plumber in your state or region.
We’ll show you the tools and resources you’ll need, what kind of training programs are available, and how to find all of that information right in your area so you can get started on your new career as soon as possible.
Let’s get this show on the road.
Who is a Plumber?
Plumbers are the workers who help keep our homes and businesses running smoothly; they’re the ones who can fix a clogged drain or a leaking faucet. Plumbers install and repair any pipes, valves, or fixtures that carry water, air, or other fluids.
From sinks and showers to swimming pools and hot tubs, they are skilled specialists who know how to make sure everything works perfectly.
A professional plumber will have the skills and training to use specialized tools to unclog drains and repair broken water lines and know how to make sure your plumbing system stays in good working order.
However, to get started on this line of work, you’ll need some training in plumbing.
Steps to Becoming a Plumber
Plumbing is a skilled trade that requires formal education. Many states require plumbers to be licensed or certified by passing an exam after completing an apprenticeship or training program. If you’re interested in becoming a plumber, there are several steps you’ll need to take.
Step 1: Complete high school (do you need a GED?)
To become a plumber, you first need to complete high school. This may sound like an obvious starting point, but it’s worth considering if you’ve been out of school for a while and still need to get your GED.
If you don’t have your high school diploma yet, check with your local public high school and see if they offer GED classes. If not, look into what it would take for you to enroll in an adult education program to get the test prep materials and classes needed for the exam.
Step 2: Apply to programs
Once you have finished high school, you need to apply to plumbing programs that will train you to become a plumber. Each program is different, so it’s best to research all your options before making your decision. Some programs can be completed in less than two years, but others can take as long as five or six.
When choosing a school, look at the curriculum, instructors, and any other factors that may be important to you.
The National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (NAHPCC) offers a list of accredited plumber training programs by state. If you’re considering a distance-learning course, visit the program’s website or contact the school directly to see if they are accredited by an outside organization such as NAHPCC or another agency.
Step 3: Complete the program
The next step is completing the program. The amount of time needed to complete the program will depend on how long it takes to complete the courses and pass the exams. Plumbing programs teach you everything from how to use tools to how to work with different materials (like copper and PVC) and how to read blueprints.
Another thing that varies from program to program is whether there are any specialties that students must learn during their training (like working with septic systems or installing fire sprinklers).
Finally, when you’re done with school, find a job where you can learn from more experienced plumbers who will teach you what’s involved with working in the industry.
The vast majority of states require that a person works under the supervision of a licensed plumber as an apprentice for at least two years before they can obtain their license. Therefore, the best place to learn about local apprenticeship opportunities is through a local union.
Step 4: Get certified (take an exam)
This step is crucial for obtaining a job in plumbing. First, you have to be licensed and/or certified as a plumber by the government. Without this, you won’t be able to legally charge for your services or legally perform any jobs under your name.
Check with your state’s governing body for more information about certification and licensure for plumbers—each one has different requirements, and certifications may vary from state to state.
Plumbing certifications include:
- Certified in Plumbing Design by the American Society of Plumbing Engineers
- UPC Master Level Plumber from the National Inspection Testing and Certification Corporation
- Service Plumber Certification from ASSE International
You have many choices for certifications that are available through various associations. These range from just being able to handle basic plumbing repairs all the way up to advanced certifications that require in-depth knowledge of hydraulic systems and piping materials. The certification will help you demonstrate your competency not only to your clients but also to potential employers.
How Much Does Plumber Certification Cost?
The average cost of tuition at an accredited school for the classes required for your license is about $5,000 per year, but if the school has financial aid, the amount may be less than that.
Plumbing school isn’t the only cost either; once you’re done with school and are ready to find a job and start working as a plumber, there are still many costs associated with starting your career. For example, the tools needed for work will run anywhere from $2,000 – $10,000.
What is the Average Salary?
Over the past few years, the plumbing trade is becoming very popular amongst many job seekers. This is because the average plumber is said to make about $33 per hour, which means starting salaries can start at $45K and above.
However, these numbers might differ depending on what kind of work they do (commercial vs. residential) and whether it’s a unionized or non-unionized work environment).
What Kind of Personality Does It Take?
There’s a stereotype that plumbers are rough, burly guys who know more about the workings of a toilet than they do about the workings of the people using it. And that’s…well, not entirely false.
Plumbers are usually men, and most plumbers are born with a certain aptitude for solving problems with water pressure. But plumbing as a career is open to everyone, and both women and men who particularly like getting their hands dirty can find success doing it.
What kind of personal skills are needed?
Becoming a plumber takes a lot more than just being able to fix a clogged toilet. It takes a certain level of ambition, perseverance, dedication to the job, and a desire to help people. In addition, you need to develop some personal skills to learn how to be a plumber. These skills will help you become a better plumber and make you stand out from other candidates.
- You must have an eye for detail
- You must be able to work in isolation and have the drive to finish any project by yourself
- You must be able to read plans and blueprints and have an understanding of the plumbing system inside your home or business
- You must have good communication skills
- You must be able to follow instructions
- You must be willing to take risks when necessary
A good attitude towards customers and an ability to be honest with them when they ask questions are also very important. The customer always comes first; they pay your bill every week, so they deserve respect. You also need patience with people who may not know what they are talking about or may ask questions that do not make sense.
Plumbing is a great career choice for those looking to work in a field with long-term job security and plenty of opportunities for career advancement. However, aside from the 5% expected increase in demand for plumbing work as the U.S. population increases, many of the other jobs in this sector are aging out, meaning that it will take time to find experienced replacements when longtime plumbers retire.
If you want to become a plumber, you’re in for a lot of hard work. But if you’re ready to put in the time and effort, it can be an incredibly rewarding career.