Construction Career Spotlight On:

Plumber

Plumbers install and maintain the pipes and valves that make up a building’s water and drainage systems.

Average Salary*

Avg. Hourly Wage*

Pros In Demand

*Plus overtime and bonuses!

The Life of a Plumber

Plumbing technicians have mobillity; working on a variety of job sites and projects as well as have the ability to make upwards of $97k. Really cool new technologies (tankless water heaters, wifi leak detectors, smart appliances) have been introduced into the field. Having to deal with water, steam, gas, and other natural elements, plumbers can be regarded as the doctors of our mechanical systems ensuring everything is working correctly. Plumbing is an in demand career path filled with great opportunities.

You might love a career in plumbing if you enjoy…

  • Being Active 100% 100%
  • Math & Numbers 95% 95%
  • Detail-Oriented Tasks 90% 90%
  • Troubleshooting 85% 85%

Becoming a Plumber

There are multiple pathways to becoming a professional plumber. Check out the options below and click the buttons to discover the opportunities.

Choose Your Path

Technical Training
Pathway 1
Straight to Workforce
Pathway 2
Apprenticeships
Pathway 3
Students working with instructor at a technical training progam
A training program prepares students with skills for careers in the plumbing industry and emphasizes a combination of plumbing theory and practical applications necessary for successful employment.

Students completing a plumbing training program obtain the qualifications for an entry–level residential plumber or entry–level commercial plumber.

Standard training programs include:

Plumber repairing a sink

While most plumbers begin their training under a structured training program or technical apprenticeship, some begin their careers through entry-level positions with small businesses and contractors.

On the job training provides a great opportunity to gain hands-on learning experience on basic plumbing techniques, everything from repairing a faucet to installing a hot water tank.

Plumbers who start their careers this way are able to apply their experience gained to accelerate quickly through advanced training programs and paid apprenticeships leading to professional licensing and master-level certification.

Builders cutting with a blind

Plumber apprenticeships vary by program length and type, but most require a high school diploma or GED. Many plumbing companies offer apprenticeship training with a critical focus on plumbing repair and fixture installation, leaning heavily on on-the-job work experience.

Union apprenticeships generally have a longer completion time and begin with extensive classroom learning, covering skills that include drafting and blueprint reading, municipal plumbing code and safety training, along with fundamental training in math, physics and chemistry. Upon completion, an apprentice has the requisite hours to take state plumbing licensing or certification exams to begin their career as a journeyman plumber.

Both options include worksite training, working under licensed plumbers on real jobs, so trainees are exposed to the demands and pressures they will face as plumbers. And both offer paid training as you work toward your goal of becoming a licensed plumber.

Plumber: Training vs College

10-year comparison

Plumber at work

Training

VS.

College classroom

College

2 years

Certificate/Diploma

Training Time

4+ Years

<$47K

Total

Degree Cost

$106K

Not including interest on loans

$58.6K

Apprenticeship Role

Starting Salary

$55.2K

Bachelor’s Degree

$539K

Minus Education Cost

10-Year Total Salary

$446K

Minus Education Cost

Plumbing Specializations

As a plumber, you can specialize in different types of projects depending on your interest and experience.

Plumber Apprentice

Apprenticeships generally include a classroom component as well as substantial on-the-job training. Although relatively few states require plumber apprentices to hold a license, prerequisites must be met before a candidate is considered for an apprenticeship. In most cases candidates must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. After obtaining an apprentice license or being accepted into an apprentice program, individuals can perform limited duties under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber.

Journeyman Plumber

Before getting a journeyman license, candidates must meet education and experience requirements and then pass an exam. Prerequisites vary by state, but candidates will typically need 4 years of work experience as an apprentice to sit for the journeyman exam. Some states allow classroom hours to be substituted for a portion of the experience requirement. A journeyman license generally allows a licensee to work independently, and journeymen are often called upon to supervise the work of apprentices.

Master Plumber

In order to become a master plumber, candidates in most states are required to meet additional experience and exam requirements. Many states require candidates to have at least two years of experience as a journeyman before applying for a master license. Licensed master plumbers are able to supervise the work of junior plumbers, pull permits for projects, and operate plumbing businesses.

Specialty License Types

Many states offer specialty license classifications in addition to the apprentice, journeyman, and master designations. In Washington, plumbers can become licensed in the following specialties: residential, pump and irrigation, domestic well, and backflow. Specialty licenses typically require less experience than full journeyman or master licenses.

Find Plumber Jobs

Check out our plumber to find plumber jobs in your area and around the country.

Videos: Life in Plumbing

What is the life of a plumber really like? Find out from experts, recent hires, and our pro videos.

Cupcake Day

Cupcake Day

A bright high school senior casts aside a table of “cupcake” college offers in favor of pursuing a future in the skilled trades
TCSG: We Are the Students of Technical College

TCSG: We Are the Students of Technical College

Produced in partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia, this montage highlights the unique educational experiences and benefits offered at Georgia’s 22 technical colleges.
Jenn the Builder – Entrepreneur

Jenn the Builder – Entrepreneur

“Jenn the Builder” Metzger shares her personal story of owning a residential construction business, along with the challenges and opportunities she encountered on her road to success.

Plumbing Careers News and Tools

Check out our articles, guides and downloadable resources to help you get started on the road to a career in plumbing.

News

Resources

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