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So You're Thinking of Becoming a Plumber

Updated on January 30, 2012

How to Become a Plumber

Have you always wanted to be a plumber? Do you come from a long line of plumbers and want to continue doing what your family has been employed in for years?

Have you recently been fired from a corporate job and are looking for something high paying and stable?

Many people have recently wondered how to become a plumber most likely in part due to the popularity of Joe the plumber.

The profession of plumbing is one that is reliable and will be something that won't ever stop being necessary as long as there are bathrooms in every home in the United States and around the world. Indeed, the fluctuating economy makes many careers unstable.

However, home plumbing issues are something that will always come up no matter what kind of outside factors exist.

Because of this, becoming a professional plumber is a pretty safe career path for those who love job security. People who would like to enter the plumbing profession do so through their plumber’s local union. This union features a program of apprenticeship which you can apply for in a direct way.

Becoming accepted into a program such as this one is not easy but it is worth it. There is an apprenticeship program that accepted applicants are able to become a part of.

This is a 4-year program and is a mix of hands-on and classroom training. After four years, the graduates of the apprenticeship go on to become full plumbers and get all the benefits this brings with-it.

There are other ways of entering the profession of plumbing if you do not get accepted through this particular route. You first need to ensure that you have a high school diploma.

Courses in computers, the sciences, physics and math are necessary subjects for your career as a plumber. Blueprint reading and drafting classes can also help somewhat. There are some high schools that offer plumbing vocational classes.

After you have completed your high school diploma in plumbing, you will need to get trained professionally.

You need to find community colleges or technical trade schools offering plumbing courses for plumbing wanna be's. There are courses which cover drainage systems and water supply.

There are subjects that specify plumbing education essentials about valves, fittings, venting and piping. Many schools and colleges that are technical award certificates of plumbing upon program-completion.

Your next step is to complete a program of apprenticeship. These are given by the local unions and their affiliates through contractors that are non-union.

The programs last for about four years and are combined with on the job paid trainings along with instructions for the classrooms.

There are local codes for plumbing that apprentices learn as well as all kinds of procedures for plumbing from primary plumbing installation fixtures to water pipe maintenance and repair. The trainees also get special skills in plumbing like selecting fittings for plumbing and materials, identifying pipe types and grades as well as using their trade tools.

Many states have made having a license become a requirement for plumbers. On the other hand, there really are no uniform national standards for licensing.

Many states also require that plumbers need to pass an exam and have an average of three years of having worked before getting licensed. There are also special licenses for plumbers who work on gas lines required by most states.

Due to the demand of more and more water conservation requirements, the PHCCA which is the PlumbingHeatingCollingContractorsAssociation has partnered with USA's Green Plumbers to certify and train plumbers in energy and water technology for efficiency.

Attaining certifications such as this helps plumbers become more advanced in their fields and enables them to take on new opportunities that come their way.

For those who want to fast track a plumbing course, you do have options to quickly qualify and become plumbers.

There are even home study options you might want to take advantage of. These qualifications will not be recognized by the industry unless it is accredited by Guilds and the City. It also needs to lead to the NVQ 6098 or the Technical certificate 6129.

The fact is that it takes time to become a good plumber. Experience with all the different fittings, the latest developments and the various types of plumbing including the kind that old fashioned homes have as compared to newer homes will involve several years of experience.

When it comes to getting certified with a fast track plumbing training course, you will most likely gain in skill as you tackle the field.

There are also grants for plumbing you might qualify for. Check with local companies in your area as well as larger companies that have branch offices in your community for possible grants. Depending on the location of where you plan to take a plumbing course, there may be course fees that can be covered by the government.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm so glad that I found this. I have actually been thinking of becoming a plumber. I just haven't known what factors to consider. This really helped me. I was thinking about working here: what would you suggest?

    • profile image

      plumbers in Chicago 

      6 years ago

      Is it hard to become a plumber? I heard you have to go to school for five years to become a plumber. I want to know if I go to school for it how hard will it be to become a plumber after I finish school?

    • profile image

      Lyla Burns 

      6 years ago

      When my husband told me he was thinking about apprenticing to become a plumber, I was shocked. Since he has started doing it I realize that being a plumber has great advantages. Sure there are some nasty plumbing repair jobs that aren't pleasant, but for the most part it's not too bad.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I always find it interesting to see the qualifications and education needed to become licensed trades in other parts of the world. Here in Ontario it is a 5 year apprenticeship that includes 720 hours of post-secondary education training, and 9,000 hours of on-the-job training. Then you can apply for the Certification of Qualification and receive a provisional certificate. Then you must pass the certification exam.

      Complete the training associated with the Apprenticeship Training Standards for Plumbers. Many people do not realize how much is involved with becoming a plumber.

      Excellent Hub and Welcome to HubPages.


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