When your sink, shower, or toilet breaks, you call a plumber to come fix it. But a plumber’s job is not only to fix broken pipes. They install them as well, making sure your sink, bathtub, toilet, and washing machine are all functioning. If you have considered entering this career field, then follow this guide to see what type of plumbing courses you could take.
To become a plumber, you must first take a training course that will prepare you for your career.
Types of Plumbing Courses
There are three main types of plumbing courses: apprenticeships, community college programs, and online classes.
On your journey to becoming a plumber, you will attend a variety of courses to learn the essentials about the plumbing industry. During this training, you will learn how to assess a plumbing issue, how to fix it by installing the necessary hardware, and much more.
These courses are offered either on-campus or online. Let’s take a look at the three main types of plumbing courses you can pursue, and some specific examples.
Community College Plumbing Courses
Community colleges are a great place to study a vocational skill like plumbing. Let’s look at one community college, Cuyahoga County Community College, Tri-C, and the courses that it offers. These classes are similar to what you will find at other community college plumbing programs nationwide.
In this course, you will learn about underground plumbing systems, their applications, and how to install them. The class also covers:
- Math for plumbing
- Installation techniques
- How to interpret mechanical drawings
- Construction tools and equipment
Plumbers must also learn basic fundamentals of electricity because they work in close proximity to electrical outlets and with electrical plumbing systems. In this course, you will learn the following:
- Electrical safety
- Troubleshooting exercises
- Direct and alternating currents
You will take this course once you are accepted into an apprenticeship program. This course teaches the leadership and responsibilities associated with becoming a foreman. You will learn the following:
- Effective communication techniques
- Efficient work practices
- Safety measures
- Team leadership
A plumbing service and procedures class concerns customer service and sales. In this class, you will learn the following:
- How to effectively communicate with customers
- To explain what you are doing and why.
- To sell any product that a client may need
Online Plumbing Courses
Online plumbing courses are also a great way to learn the trade because it will allow you to study independently. You can take classes on your own time and still earn your certifications.
There are a few plumbing courses available online. Alison.com is one great website that offers many courses for free for those who want to learn about plumbing.
Alison: Introduction to Plumbing
Course Fee: Free
In this introductory class you will learn the basics of plumbing, including:
- How to stay safe on the job by using the proper personal protective equipment
- Tools that are needed for the job
- Possible jobsite safety hazards
- The skills and duties of a plumber
Course Fee: Free
In this course, you will learn about the plumbing fixtures used in water systems and drainage. This is an important course for plumbers because understanding how water drainage and water distribution systems work is a key part of the job. This class covers the following:
- Drain Waste Vent Systems
- Components of a drain system
- Health issues related to improper installation
- Water purification process
Other Plumbing Courses
Study.com is a great online resource that offers information on certifications and degrees and also provides a list of the types of plumbing classes taught at trade schools and community colleges around the US. Let’s look at a few other classes you would be required to take while attending trade school to become a plumber:
In this course, you will learn and practice plumbing techniques in the classroom. These labs recreate real world scenarios to prepare you for work. These labs help students practice what they have learned in a textbook with a teacher present.
These labs will include:
- Practicing plumbing skills that meet state codes and regulations
- Working on drains, pipes, and waterlines
- Practicing techniques
Advanced Commercial and Residential Plumbing Repair
Before taking this class, students must have previously taken courses in pipes, vents, and plumbing codes, and will further develop their skills in these areas. This course will cover:
- Different skills used in residential and commercial settings
- The differences between plumbing layouts in the two settings
Plumbing Installation and Repair
In this course, you will learn more about pipes and their systems. This course covers the following information:
- Pipe sizing
- Pipe installation and repair
- Installation techniques
- Appliance and fixture installation
As well as offering classes, many plumbing training programs will also allow you to move straight into an apprenticeship to gain hands-on experience to apply what you are learning in the classroom to the real world.
These programs partner with the United States Department of Labor to certify your apprenticeship so that you can seamlessly obtain your required licenses and certifications. Apprenticeships last five years and require 2,000 hours of work. Of those, 1,700 hours are spent on the job, and the other 300 are spent in a classroom setting.
Conclusion: Are You Ready to Start a Plumbing Course?
After reading this guide, you should have a good understanding of the courses you will be required to take while on your journey to become a plumber. These classes will teach you the ins and outs of plumbing and make sure you are prepared to handle on-the-job challenges as you become an apprentice and eventually a master plumber.
So if you are ready to start your career in plumbing, consider the community college programs, trade school courses, and apprenticeships available to you as you set out to pursue your plumbing career.
Plumbing Courses FAQ
How do I become a plumber?
First you must graduate high school or get a GED and then sign up for a trade school or apprenticeship. Learn more here.
How long is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is 5 years long. 1,700 hours are spent on the job and another 300 hours are spent in the classroom.
Are plumbers paid well?
A plumber makes, on average, $55,160 per year in the United States.