Although from state to state the requirements for becoming a plumber can vary, there are usually two ways to obtain your plumbing license. One way is to go to college for 2-3 years to obtain the knowledge and experience necessary to work in the field and the other is to do a much longer apprenticeship beneath a “master plumber”. Both ways are respected in the trade and matter only to the aspiring plumber, to choose the option that best fits his lifestyle and resources.
To best prepare for the field, an aspiring plumber should first get their high school diploma or GED. If they know they want to be a plumber they will need a solid background in science, math, and computers. If they are able, in high school or college, taking courses in drafting and blue print reading is very helpful in the trade. Trade school, vocational school, or technical schools all offer plumbing programs that will give you the foundation in more advanced plumbing studies such as water supply and drainage systems and piping equipment. Schooling can take 2-3 years. After you’ve received your diplomas you will want hands-on experience with an employer willing to mentor you your first few years of work.
Doing an extensive apprenticeship program that may last as long as 5 years under an experienced plumber in place of going to school for a formal education is another option available to aspiring plumbers. The steps following are the same, 2-3 years experience after your apprenticeship has ended will qualify you for what they call your journeyman’s license. Journeyman plumbers can go onto become master plumbers after they’ve received 1-5 years more experience in the field (depending on the state) by taking another exam.
After you’ve completed one of the two routes listed above to gather all the knowledge and experience necessary for licensing, you will probably take an exam. The exam will include a lot of the information you learned in school, on the job, and will likely include local codes as well. As previously mentioned, journeyman can continue onto becoming master plumbers by continuing to work in the field and then taking the master plumber’s exam.
Plumbers average 20.00 per hour and have been staying around 5% unemployment rate which is good. The trade is expected to remain the same into the future. Newcomers will likely have job openings when they are ready to fill them, as plumbers retire. Most plumbers find their work in construction, but there are a number of job applications for plumbing.