Why Become A Plumber
Plumbing is a fulfilling career that allows one to combine knowledge and innovation with the ability to create and build with your hands. It also offers tremendous benefits and career potential. There are many types of plumbing professionals. As with any industry, plumbing professionals may end up specializing in a certain area. For example, a plumber may be an expert in installing new pipes in new construction while another specializes in fixing existing pipes in older homes. Plumbers can also expand their skill set to include installing natural gas lines to appliances or maintaining sprinkler systems. There are different levels of plumbing license a plumber can have. Usually, plumbers start out as an apprentice. Apprentices can then obtain a journey plumbing license. Journeyman plumbers have trained under a master plumber for a certain number of hours and must pass a state sanctioned test. Ultimately, journeyman plumbers can be awarded a master plumbing license. Master plumbers have held a journey license for a certain amount of time, accumulated a certain amount of hours working as a licensed journeyman plumber, and have passed a state sanctioned test.
On The Job Training
While many career paths require years of schooling and lots of money, in the field of plumbing you will be trained while on the job – and while making money. Not only do plumbers begin to earn while they are at the apprentice level, they also forgo significant tuition payments and debt from student loans as all of their instruction is hands on and done while on the job.
As the former mayor of New York City, Mayor Bloomberg, pointed out on his radio show in May of 2013:
“Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal.
You don’t spend … four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income.” -Michael Bloomberg, Former Mayor of New York City
To find a paid apprentice program near you click on the buttons below.
As a plumber, you have great earning potential. In 2011, the average plumber made approximately $52,000. With that said, Time Magazine points out that in cities across the US, such as New York, LA, Chicago and Boston, plumbers are in high demand and can make up to $250,000/year!
To determine your potential pay as a plumber use this salary calculator.
Job Security & Nationwide Opportunities
Plumbing is one of the fastest-growing jobs in this country. The plumbing field is expected to grow 26% from 2010-2020 – this growth is expected across the country. That means that the reported 419,900 jobs back in 2010 will multiply into more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. Plumbing also offers a secure job, as plumbing services will always be in demand, plumbers are not at risk of losing their jobs to machines, and plumbing jobs cannot be outsourced for cheaper labor overseas.
Throughout the United States, plumbers can find job opportunities – plumbing is and always will be in homes and businesses across the US, after all. The chart below, provided by MyNextMove.org, shows the current demand for plumbers per state. The states in orange currently have a high demand for plumbers and the states in light blue have an average demand.
Jobs Are Available Now
Becoming a plumber grants you the opportunity to find a job today. The demand for skilled tradespeople continues to grow. As Mike Rowe, the host of the TV series Dirty Jobs, pointed out in his speech to the Senate Commerce Committee on May 11, 2011, there is an intense need for plumbers and other skilled tradespeople.
“Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions. There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The Skills Gap is real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They’re retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.” -Mike Rowe
Watch Mike Rowe’s Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee
How to Become a Plumber
If you think a career in plumbing is for you, here are the steps to take.
- Get your vocational training. Take plumbing vocational classes at a trade school or technical or community college. The certificate you earn will be on the topics of water supply and drainage systems, as well as their respective piping equipment.
- Complete an apprenticeship program. To receive the most comprehensive training on how to be a plumber, take part in an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships run either 4 or 5 years, depending on the state, and cover all aspects of the trade. You can find apprenticeships through union locals and such organizations as the Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors as well as local vocational or trade schools.
- Get licensed. A majority of states require that you have a plumber’s license. Although licensing standards aren’t uniform, 2-5 years of field experience working under a licensed plumber, and passage of an exam of the plumbing trades and local codes are typical requirements for a journeyman license. To learn the specific qualifications, licensing needs and training hours necessary to become a plumber in your region, please click on the link below.