When you have a problem with your pipes, it requires the work of a plumber. If you want a career as a tradesperson in a field that allows you to work your own hours, then learning how to become a plumber may be a wise career choice for you.
It’s no easy task becoming a qualified plumber, as it requires a number of hours of work and licensing requirements to begin your plumbing career. To help you become a licensed plumber, we have created a guide below on how to become a plumber in 2020.
Find Your Bootcamp Match
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses
What Is a Plumber?
A plumber installs, maintains, and repairs pipes that deal with water, gas, and waste. A plumber’s work isn’t just related to pipes. They also install fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers, and washing machines. In some situations, plumbers work alongside other construction workers.
What Does a Plumber Do?
A plumber’s primary role is to install and maintain fixtures and piping systems. However, the exact duties of a plumber vary based on their specialties and responsibilities. Below is a list of tasks plumbers typically do each day.
Plumbers who specialize in pipelaying set and still piping needed for plumbing systems. Some of the piping they do is for storm drains and water mains. This work involves grading and digging trenches, setting the pipes in the trenches, and securing the pipes together.
Plumbers install plumbing systems, accessories, HVAC systems, and other residential appliances
Remove Drain Obstructions
Perhaps what plumbers are most popularly known for is removing clogs and obstructions from waste and sewage drains. Plumbers have the equipment, knowledge, and skills needed to remove obstructions and prevent them from occurring again.
Providing Diagnosis and Estimating Repair Costs
Sometimes, you aren’t aware of what your plumbing problems are or how extensive they may be. Plumbers provide on-site diagnosis and estimated repair costs. This gives you an idea of what is wrong with your pipes and how much time and effort it will take to make the repairs.
Essential Plumber Skills
Physical Fitness and Dexterity
Plumbers work with pipes and usually in tight spaces. They have to be strong enough to hold up pipes, toilets, and other appliances, as well as hold them steady. Dexterity is needed to use small tools.
Plumbing Installation, Troubleshooting, and Repair Skills
A plumber has to have good skills in repairing, troubleshooting, and installation. This means making sure all the pieces of an installation are used properly, troubleshooting is done extensively, and repairs are done in a way that reduces the chances of damage happening again.
Not every situation a plumber deals with is as simple as unclogging a drain. There are times when a plumber needs to come up with a solution to a plumbing problem that requires a bit of creativity and knowledge. Plumbers need to be quick on their feet and work in an efficient and timely manner to complete multiple jobs.
Plumbers work with different groups of people all the time. Plumbing issues can be complex, which means plumbers must have strong communication skills to explain the problem to their clients. Plumbers also have to explain how much they’ll be spending in the client’s home and how their work may inconvenience them until repairs are done.
Plumber Salaries and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for plumbers is four percent, which is about as fast as average. The median pay for plumbers, as of 2019, was $55,160 or $26.52 per hour. Factors that impact a plumber’s salary is their location, experience, specialty, and additional skills.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Plumber?
In most cases, it takes around two yours to become a plumber. This is the time it takes to complete plumbing trade school. The alternative is working in an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs vary in length but usually take two to five years to complete.
How to Become a Plumber: A Step by Step Guide
Becoming a plumber is a simple process. It’s a career that provides you a stable, dependable income without spending several years studying and earning certifications.
The process is simple and you can start with just a high school diploma. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a plumber.
Step 1: Earn Your High School Diploma
A high school diploma is the first thing you need to become a plumber. You can also get a GED equivalent if you haven’t completed high school.
Step 2: Take a Technical Plumbing Course
After you’ve finished high school, you have to take a technical course in plumbing. Most states demand you take a course to work as a professional plumber.
The time you spend in the classroom varies, based on the courses you take and the rules of each state. In most cases, you’ll spend two years training, which is around half the time it takes to earn a university degree.
Step 3: Take Part in an Apprenticeship
An alternative to school is an apprenticeship. As an apprentice plumber, you’ll study under an experienced plumber. You’ll take on traditional coursework, as well as gain on-the-job experience.
Most apprenticeship programs consist of 2,000 hours of on-the-job work and around 250 hours of classroom work. These programs can take anywhere from two to five years to complete.
Step 4: Take Your License Exam
Finally, the last step to become a plumber is to earn your license. The exam you have to take depends on where you plan to work. Some states require you to just take a written exam, but others require you to also demonstrate your practical skills.
After earning your license, you’ll be a journeyman plumber. Throughout your career, you can take a second exam to become a master plumber. Master plumbers can charge higher rates and take on more complex jobs.
Should You Become a Plumber in 2020?
Plumbing is one of several trades you can take up with a stable income. Many people think a great career requires you to get a bachelor’s degree and spend several years in college, but plumbing is very different.
While it does take a number of skills and lots of training, the rewards of being a plumber include constant work, the ability to charge your own rates, and even set your own hours. If you are looking for a good, stable career path, then plumbing may be right for you.
You only need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to become a plumber.
Plumbers train through trade school, community college, or apprenticeships.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Apprentice plumbers help install new fixtures, and unclog and repair pipes.
Yes, and you need two to five years of experience before you can take your exam to earn your license.
The median annual salary of a plumber is around $55,160.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.