How to Become a Plumber – In 5 Simple Steps

Plumbing is a career that has a great future.

Plumbers are responsible for every aspect of making sure the water gets from its source to where it is needed.

They also must provide a means to see that waste gets safely to where it needs to be.

Every residential property and business has some form of plumbing involved.

A plumber must be willing to work evenings and weekends, as there are often emergencies that need to be handled immediately.

They also must be able to work unsupervised when necessary.

Most plumbers must also be able to be bonded as they enter personal property.

Many are required to undergo background checks.

A final requirement is often a driver’s license.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, read on.

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How to Become a Plumber

Becoming a plumber takes dedication and a willingness to work a long time before realizing your final goal.

The steps, however, are simple.

1. High School Diploma or GED

While working toward your high school diploma, you will want to become proficient in math and English.

It will also help to have some skill in using basic hand tools and reading blueprints, as plumbers may need to view blueprints to get the layout of the pipes they are working on.

2. Decide on School, Apprenticeship, or Combination

The majority of plumbers get their early training through hands-on experience, working under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

There are other options.

You can give your career a boost by attending a trade school or college that offers plumbing as a course.

Often, people will choose to take the course while also working as an apprentice.

Once you decide the route you will take, you need to look for an apprenticeship opportunity.

3. Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship will last for four or five years before most states allow you to take a test to become licensed.

It is normally necessary to register as a plumbing apprentice to keep official track of the hours you spend.

The apprenticeship is done under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

4. Journeyman

The next step in your journey is as a Journeyman.

This position is earned by taking an exam after the required number of apprenticeship hours.

The majority of plumbers stop at this point and find a position with a plumbing company or other organization, such as construction, that allows them to work both independently and under supervision.

5. Master Plumber

For those who want to go into business for themselves or obtain supervisory positions in plumbing, the final step is to become licensed as a Master Plumber by taking the required exam.

In many states, you must not only take a plumbing exam but must also take exams in supervision, business, and law.

Licensing Requirements For Plumbers

Not all states require plumbers to obtain a license. for those that do, the requirements vary from one state to another.

It is important to find out what the requirements are in the state you plan to work in.

In some cases, having a license in one state will make it possible to get a license in another state without having to retake the exam.

Each state also varies in the number of hours of additional education they may require every year or two to keep current with new trends.

How Much Does a Plumber Make?

The amount of money you can earn as a plumber will vary depending on the area of the country you are working in and where you perform your duties.

The amount will also vary according to whether you work as an independent contractor or as part of a business.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for plumbers in the United States is $28.89 an hour, or $60,090 a year.

Arkansas’ plumbers average the lowest amount at $46,750 a year.

The highest-paid plumbers are those in Alaska, earning an average of $86,820 annually.

Online Plumbing Programs

As most plumbers gain their main experience as apprentices, most plumbing training programs are in-person.

The majority are at trade schools, which focus on the basics of plumbing and nothing else.

Colleges, especially community colleges, also offer courses, along with general classes such as math and English.

These are mainly in-person classes.

Online plumbing programs are few, but we did find five programs for you to consider.

Gateway Community and Technical College

This Kentucky school offers a two-year course that will allow you to earn an Associate degree in Applied Science.

The cost for Kentucky residents is $186 per credit hour, while non-residents pay $250 per credit hour.

The course is a total of nine credits and prepares you to be an apprentice.

You will learn the basics of plumbing, including reading plans and troubleshooting plumbing problems in a variety of situations.

Oklahoma State University

The program at Oklahoma State University is @$2,245 for 145 hours.

The course takes a total of twelve months.

You will be instructed in basic concepts, identifying pipes and fixtures, plumbing safety, the interpretation of plumbing codes, and essential plumbing math skills.

Penn Foster Career School

This is the oldest online school in the country and has a stellar reputation among plumber licensing agencies.

The course takes eight to twelve months to complete and costs $964.

In addition to the excellent skills you will learn, this school offers two things that make it stand out.

They give you a choice of three different payment plans that help make the program affordable.

They also offer high school students a chance to study while still pursuing their high school diploma.

Ashworth College

Ashworth College offers a course that takes 9-12 months to complete, but you can work at your own pace.

The $959 tuition allows you permanent access to the information, even after graduation.

They also include career guidance and time management skills in their program to make it more likely for you to succeed.

Alpha Tradesman Academy

This is a unique program that is set up differently than other programs.

The cost is $995 per year and the classes are separated into “badges”.

The first badge is the Certified Service Technician badge, in which you learn all the basics of plumbing, including history.

You will be given many quizzes throughout the course and are expected to pass with 100 percent before continuing.

In the end, you will be tested on the entire course and are once again required to earn 100 percent before earning your badge.

After the initial badge is earned, you can choose from twenty other specialties within the plumbing field.

All badges are earned in the same manner as the first.

This allows potential employers to see exactly where your skills lie and what skills you may be lacking.

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