So, you want to be a plumber?
It’s a fine ambition. A great goal, in fact! People all over the world use plumbing every day, and in today’s world, a building isn’t even considered modern if it doesn’t have plumbing. To be a plumber is to always be in need, to be able to find employment wherever you go. You can have the flexibility to business ownership, with the unique ability to become involved in some really interesting projects and technology, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Want to know what it takes to be a plumber in today’s cutting-edge residential and industrial plumbing professions? Read on!
To start with, you don’t need any advanced academic training to become a plumber. You will need to finish high school (in most states) or complete an equivalency test. There are a lot of basic math, time management, and science skills that you learn in high school that will become important on the job.
After you finish high school, you can enroll in a pre-apprenticeship program, which should take about two years and might overlap with an Associate in Science degree, depending on the school where you enroll. In these courses, you will learn important math and physics skills you will need to know to be a plumber, including details about fluid dynamics, architectural design, and your local building codes.
During this pre-apprenticeship schooling, it’s always good to have some hands-on experience, especially in the field you plan to work in, if you can. If you can get a part-time job at a residential or commercial plumbing company while you work on your initial training, that will definitely benefit you in the long run.
As you get to the end of your school program, research and apply for an apprentice position at local plumbing companies. It’s helpful if you know someone who already works there and who can mentor you during your apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship is a hands-on training period of at least four years, where you will begin to really train as a plumber. During these years, you will be expected to install, repair, and troubleshoot problems with all types of residential or commercial plumbing fixtures and piping. You will need to prove your knowledge and ability to maintain building codes, and work with both new and older construction.
While you’re an apprentice, consider joining professional plumber’s organizations or a union. If you want to be a plumber for your whole life, getting into one of these groups early can present you with some great networking and training opportunities.
After four to five years, most apprentice plumbers have completed their basic training and are ready to take the test to become licensed journeyman plumbers in their area. A Journeyman is a more advanced, but still intermediate, level of professional plumber. As a Journeyman plumber, you will be eligible to work on projects that you were not qualified to work on as an apprentice, but you will also be expected to have a wider knowledge and experience base.
Continue your training
As a Journeyman, you can take additional classes to learn about new equipment and techniques, to become a professional at reading or designing blueprints or using CAD software, or any other skills that contribute to your success as a plumber. Most Journeymen continue their training for at least another five years, but many take as long as ten years, before they progress to getting their Master Plumber License.
Master Plumber License
The highest goal of anyone who wants to be a plumber is to become a Master Plumber. A Master is someone who can oversee any type of project, and usually, they are able to manage a team and spend their days training upcoming plumbers rather than having to do the work themselves.