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How to Become A Plumber

Plumbers are professionals who maintain and install fixtures like sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc. They work for commercial, residential and industrial clients. Plumbers know how to maintain drainage systems, water disposal systems, gas pipes and other appliances such as, water heaters and dish washers. People who are in this profession have to work on call and are expected to be available on weekends as well. This profession requires travelling to multiple sites. Some plumbers work with different organizations while others are self-employed. This article will help you learn all about how to become a plumber.

Should I Become a Plumber?

Education Required

High school diploma or an apprenticeship program

Major Requirement



Required in most states


Apprenticeship program lasting for 4-5 years

Key Skills

Communication skills, Dexterity, Mechanical skills, Physical strength, Trouble shooting skills

Annual Mean Salary

$58,150 (Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters)

Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Requirements

People who aspire to become plumbers should have strong problem solving and math skills. These aspiring professionals are trained through various apprenticeship programs. These programs are offered by local branches of different unions like the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry and National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors. Plumbers are required to have good communication so they can communicate directions to their subordinates and explain concerns to their customers. They should know the proper use of their tools and are required to have the physical strength required for this laborious job. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of a plumber was $58,150 in 2018.

Steps to Become a Plumber

  1. Get a High School Diploma

A high school diploma is the minimum education required to become a plumber. Some choose to get a diploma while others decide to go for an associate's degree plumbing program. Both of these programs provide basic knowledge and skills which help students clear the plumbing apprentice programs. These programs also help students in related tasks like sprinkler fitting and industrial pipefitting. Students who want to earn in-depth knowledge of plumbing training along with general education are recommended to go for an associate's program. Some schools also offer plumbing placement programs. Plumbing courses include distribution systems, plumbing theory, advanced plumbing and water hydraulics.

2. Complete an Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship programs provide entry level training by different union organizations like National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors, HVAC service Techs and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry. Organizations that are affiliated with non-union and union plumbing companies also offer apprenticeships. These programs usually do not require the completion of a diploma; they prefer formal education and training. Getting admitted into this program could be a competitive task.

Apprenticeships are carefully designed and they may include 246 hours of technical training as well as 2,000 hours of on-job training. These programs are usually completed in a period of 4-5 years. The apprenticeship program helps students gain hands-on experience with different plumbing tools. Professionals who complete their program are qualified to apply for their license.

3. Obtain Your License

Most states require plumbers to have a license. The process of obtaining the license varies but all of them require plumbers to have a minimum 2-5 years of experience. They also have to pass an exam which consists of plumbing codes and practices.

4. Look for a Job

Professionals who have successfully completed their education and licensure process are recommended to look for jobs with plumbing, air conditioning, heat contractors and construction companies. Some plumbers work full-time while others work as freelancers or contractors.

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