Want to know how to become a plumber? If you are, let us tell you why it’s a great choice. If not – here’s why you might want to reconsider.
If you are one of the many who are trying to find out how to become a plumber because you’re interested in the profession, then know that your instincts are right on the money – literally. The potential salary range is up to $95,000 or more depending on the level of credentials and depth of experience you possess.
As countries continue to build everything that seems like a good idea for the sake of modernization, the demand for jobs like plumbers increases year after year. A forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating a 4% occupational growth increase for 2019 to 2029.
So what are the different expectations for this occupation? Can you see yourself still working in the industry five years after learning how to become a plumber? Maybe after a casual read of this summary we’ve provided, you’ll have a better picture of the type of profession you will be relying on for bread and butter, or will it just be a skill you can apply on the side?
What Is A Plumber?
There are different kinds of pipefitters, and being a plumber is one of them. A plumber is responsible for installing different piping systems, mainly for water and drainage. They do so in various structures like our homes, schools, establishments, and buildings. That’s pretty much every place where there are people that require its convenience.
It is essential that plumbing is installed by a licensed plumber, avoiding all possibilities of contamination. They are trained to perform the proper maintenance work on the system so everyone can continue benefiting from clean water supplied directly into our homes.
Salary Range of a Plumber
- A plumber’s paycheck can be pretty impressive. An apprentice can expect $15 to $20 per hour, which is already above the highest minimum wage in any state in the US.
- A journey-level can earn $20 to $30 per hour and up to $55,000 a year, working full-time.
- Master plumbers can charge from $30 to over $45 per hour, with an annual salary that ranges from $55,000 to above $90,000. This is because of the invaluable insights and experience a master plumber can contribute to any project. It’s safe to say plumbing has become a high income skill that can even help you get to a 6-figure salary.
- There are states and territories of the United States where plumbers have very low wages like in Guam, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Alabama. The good thing about being a licensed skilled worker is when it comes to choosing the major elements of your work conditions, it is always up to you.
[Related Read: $15 an Hour is How Much a Year?]
How to Become a Plumber
Here is the step by step process on how to become a plumber:
- The first requirement is finishing high school with a diploma or completing equivalent educational attainment such as passing their GED. This is proof that you have the knowledge necessary to proceed with the vocational training course and extensive apprenticeship program.
- Next is a paid apprenticeship program that usually requires 2,000 hours spent as a supervised working intern; this phase is said to last 4 to 5 years. During the training period, an apprentice plumber is taught safety codes and regulations. That’s all technical knowledge needed to pass the first level of license exam to become a journey-level plumber.
- Expect to spend another five years under the mentorship of a master plumber before diving into a more complicated set of practical tests meant only for the genuinely qualified to be called master plumbers.
- After years under mentorship, obtaining the proper credentials such as certificates and a plumber’s advanced license is the next step, especially if you plan to become a private contractor. Even if states do not obligate plumbers to present a license, it is still best to have gone through the learning period and getting the papers needed to operate.
Frequently Asked Questions – How To Become A Plumber
Here are the most frequently asked questions on how to become a plumber.
How In Demand Are Plumbers?
In 2020, the estimated total of employed plumbers reached 490,200 in all of America. As already mentioned above, the plumbing industry grows at a normal pace, but the stable demand for plumbers is clear because of rampant construction projects found in every state.
Are There Risk Factors On Becoming A Plumber?
There are many risk factors in working as a plumber like possible accidents in the work environment, mishandling of tools and materials, especially chemicals, natural occupational hazards due to repetitive movements, awkward working positions, and more. It just highlights why going through the education process is vital to avoid the dangers always present.
What Other Job Opportunities Open To Plumbers?
Plumbers can transition to working as either a pipefitter or steamfitter because the three have the same responsibilities as installing pipelines and maintaining them. But pipefitters and steamfitters are needed in manufacturing, commercial and industrial settings.
Important Thoughts To Consider Before Choosing To Become A Plumber
- Being a plumber is no easy task like most jobs that require special skills or training. Before applying for a course, you must be sure that it is the kind of work you want to get into.
- Having the patience to learn all the basics is very important. Every occupation has its SOP, and plumbing 101 is applied 99% of the time. There’s no such thing as shortcuts.
- There are risks involved in every job – even desk workers get paper cuts. It’s important to be aware of the possible dangers while at work; one of the most common causes is human error. The awareness will always remind trainees to follow all the basics they’ve learned, guaranteeing the quality of work and keeping them safe at all times.
- Practicing your skills and being thorough even if you’re just replacing the old faucet repairing a pipe under your kitchen sink. There is no such thing as a small job for plumbers – everyone knows the chaos a leaking kitchen pipe can cause that’s been left alone in under five minutes.
Fun Facts About Plumbing!
The idea of plumbing can be traced as far back as around 3000 BC. Sewers and water pipes were found in a region of Mohenjo-Daro (Pakistan-India today) built during the Harappan civilization. For people living in the Bronze Age, their knowledge was well ahead of their time.
- They had an accurate measuring system.
- They understood commerce.
- They built water conduits to bring clean water near the residential areas – and installed a covered drainage system from the houses going out to canals under the streets.
They may not have job titles like architects, engineers, surveyors, or plumbers, but they built intricate structures for specific purposes to make their daily lives more convenient.
Conclusion – How To Become A Plumber
If you want to become a plumber, it would take four or five years to gain enough experience and qualify for the basic license. After that, you will have to spend another five years under the tutelage of a master plumber – then becoming one yourself after passing the more advanced licensing exams.
Yes, it starts with a vocational-technical course and shouldn’t sound as tedious as it does, but you must consider the years of on-the-job experience. Earning well above the minimum wage as a trainee is already a very good opportunity.
The plumbing industry will continue to thrive for as long as people worldwide continue to depend on the absolute convenience of their services. Plumbers will continue to be in demand because constructions never stop. We can all stave off our need for electricity for a little while, for a few days even. But being without plumbing and clean water for half a day is virtually impossible.
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
- Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
- Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
- Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.