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Did you know that around a million fewer students have enrolled in college in the United States since the pandemic began?
You don’t have to attend a 4-year university to get a high-paying job and support a family anymore, and trades are making it possible.
If you’re interested in becoming a plumber, there are a few things to understand before you commit.
Continue reading to discover how to become a plumber so you can ensure it’s a suitable career!
Identify Your Interests & Skills
Before you become a plumber or choose another professional, you must identify your strengths.
Your interests and natural abilities should influence your career so you can be satisfied with your work. Write down a list of interests and skills you’ve developed and you can determine if they match plumbing careers. Communication and service skills will help you excel in your career, especially since you’ll be handling most projects on your own.
If you aren’t a self-starter or problem-solver, you may find yourself falling behind in this career. By focusing on time management and improving your knowledge, you will start picking up skills effortlessly.
Graduate High School
Although you don’t need a college education, high school diplomas or GEDs are necessary to get the job.
Since there are math, technology, and engineering aspects to the job, you don’t want to get confused. Paying attention to construction and math during high school can prepare you for a successful plumbing career. If you have any questions about the job, write them down when you speak with a student advisor or job recruiter.
If you’re wanting to move out of your hometown, you should do so before starting an apprenticeship. After high school, find an area you will be comfortable staying at for 4 to 5 years. This is how long it will take most people to complete their training.
Learn About the Job
Many types of plumbers are changing the industry’s reputation and entering new territories.
Instead of fixing toilets and sinks, plumbers also create blueprints for cutting-edge solutions. When it comes to welding, piping, and fitting, you’ll have all the tools necessary after you’ve completed your apprenticeship.
Plumbers play a critical role in the economy. Not only do they keep water flowing, but they also prevent disease and bacteria from spreading. By properly assessing and fixing damages, plumbers can ensure that people have safe water.
This career is as essential as a doctor and there are no shortages of positions. After you get your foot in the door, you will be protected under union laws for most contracting positions.
Understanding the salary of a plumber is critical if you want to plan for retirement and buy a home.
Plumbers make a respectable wage that’s typically above $50,000 a year. You can make much more money by owning a plumbing business or investing in the right projects.
Other factors that can influence your salary include experience level, location, and education. If you want to turn a plumbing career into a retirement plan, you can continue your education and take on more advanced roles.
Plumbing careers have excellent salaries that can quickly grow and present new opportunities. This is a wonderful entry-level position for people wanting stability and good pay.
Plumbing jobs require travel, which can be a concern to some people trying to find a work-life balance.
Although you’ll have to travel, most of your customers will be calling from your community. If larger jobs come up and you want to bid on them, traveling can help you increase revenue.
Depending on the company you work for or start, you can provide services during standard business hours. Some companies have plumbers on-call, however, to repair emergencies. These flexible positions are essential since pipe bursts can happen at any moment.
Plumbing careers involve a variety of responsibilities, and most people are surprised to discover what they can do.
Plumbers regulalry travel to homes and commercial buildings to quote, assess, and repair issues. Each state has specific codes and regulations you’ll have to study and implement in your work. You will work alongside building inspectors and other contractors to ensure the safety and quality of work.
Some of the lesser common duties you’ll have include light construction, managing bids, and documenting work. As an apprentice, you’ll have approachable responsibilities and gradually work your way up. A lot of the information in the plumbing industry builds upon itself.
Apply for a Plumbing Position
It’s common for people to jump right into trades by applying to a company and then to receive advanced training.
You can search for opportunities on EZ Service Websites and apply for vocational training. Technical colleges and trade schools will work with plumbers in the area to prepare them for the field. In these courses, you will get certifications and understand the basics of piping equipment and drainage systems.
Under an apprenticeship, you’ll be responsible for earning course credits and passing exams. The number of hours you must do will depend on the type of plumbing job you’re pursuing. You will receive in-class training, along with on-the-job training to improve your skills.
It’s important to note that although trade schools don’t cost as much as a college or university, they aren’t free. If you have concerns about covering the costs, you can apply for financial aid assistance.
What Will Your Apprenticeship Look Like?
If you want to learn more about the apprenticeship, your best resource would be your trade school’s website.
You will start by taking a standard exam to test the basic skills required for the job. If you pass the exam, several plumbers will work together to interview candidates and select them. Starting salaries are often reduced during apprenticeships, but they still offer enough money to survive on.
As you progress through your apprenticeship, you’ll earn more money before getting your license. You will likely need to attend classes 1 to 3 nights a week or during working hours if permitted.
In your fifth year of the apprenticeship, you won’t be required to take any more courses. During this time you will gain practice and put your knowledge to work.
Obtain Your License
After you’ve completed your vocational training or trade program, you can get licensed.
Most states in the country require plumbers to get licensed to ensure they understand the codes and procedures. It will be challenging to get jobs without a license since most customers won’t want to take the risk. You must pass an exam to prove your competency and you’ll be rewarded with your license.
Always carry a valid copy of your plumbing license to jobs in case there are any concerns. Once you get your license, you are no longer considered an apprentice. If you start taking jobs without a license you may be subject to paying fines and losing the ability to get a license in the future.
Your Potential Growth
Beyond getting your license, you can advance your career with specialized education and training.
Journeyman plumbers and master plumbers are highly skilled and take on leadership roles in the industry. These are wonderful stepping stones as you continue to grow your career. Starting at the bottom and working up to a master plumbing position will prepare you for running your own company.
Since the average age of current plumbers is around 55 years, there will be an increase in open positions over the next few decades.
Plumbing Specialties to Consider
If you’re interested in growing your career and becoming an expert, you need to select a specialty.
General plumbers are in demand, they handle home, commercial, and industrial buildings regulalry. Pipefitters gain more experience and education on pressure levels in pipes. They also work with boilers, water tanks, and furnaces to ensure there aren’t any issues.
Sprinklerfitters, who specialize in outdoor plumbing, can also make a lot of money. Understanding the code regulations, sizing, and pressure levels takes more than an apprenticeship to learn.
Will You Become a Plumber?
Learning how to become a plumber can prepare you for a successful future and happy career.
Plumbers play a vital role and the knowledge gained during apprenticeships prepares them for projects. Many duties are involved, which is why you want to have strong math, communication, and technology skills. This is a profitable entry-level career that can turn into your retirement plan.
Don’t be afraid to contact a local trade school to discuss tuition plans and open availability.
If you want to learn more about plumbing careers and trade schools, check out our page for the latest content!