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
Students completing a plumbing training program obtain the qualifications for an entry–level residential plumber or entry–level commercial plumber.
Standard training programs include:
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.
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
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Minus Education Cost
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As a plumber, you can specialize in different types of projects depending on your interest and experience.
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.
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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.