Best Way To Become A Plumber

Becoming a plumber teaches a trade that will remain relevant for a lifetime. The path to becoming a plumber is paved with many hours of studying and technical knowledge.

Former mayor of New York and billionaire Michael Bloomberg publicly stated

Today, if your kids want to go to college, or become a plumber, you’ve got to think long and hard” – Michael Bloomberg

Becoming a plumber requires a unique set of skills and requirements. When the job market becomes more scarce the competition and standard to become a licensed plumber become more challenging.

We have created a guide that will outline what you will need to do to become a licensed plumber.

1. Graduate High School

Speaking strictly for the state of Iowa an aspiring plumber needs to acquire their high school diploma or have completed their GED before they can apply for a plumbing apprenticeship.  Review the specific rules regarding your particular state’s policies.

2. The Hard and Soft Skills

The reason you need a high school diploma is because most master plumbers will have a full range of applicants to choose from.  The bare minimum to separate you from other candidates is to have a foundation for learning. Subjects that will help transfer back to the understanding of plumbing concepts for aspiring apprentice plumbers will be proficiency in fields like math and physics. Besides that, most plumbers need to be approachable; they must have excellent communication skills complimented with the ability to make complex decisions.

Hard skills: Blueprinting, Drafting, Knowledge of Plumbing Codes

Soft Skills: Communications, Customer Service, Decision Making

3. Vocational Courses or College Education.

Vocational courses are where you can learn most of the technical knowledge to acquire an apprenticeship, which is where you will learn most of your hard skills. You can acquire this education through workshops, trade schools, for-profit universities, community college, or a standard 4-year university. These vocational courses will teach you the trade of the plumbing profession, from drain systems to water supplies and the piping knowledge that composes them.

4. How To Become A Plumber Apprentice

A plumbing apprenticeship can be obtained through some methods. The first step to getting an apprenticeship program will be to join their local plumbing union.  Education is imperative for this step because most unions will require their applicants to take an aptitude test before they can even be admitted. The competition can be brutal, so show your merits by maintaining good grades, acquiring the right knowledge sets and a clean criminal record.

You can gain your apprenticeship through a small plumbing company, or get in contact with a master plumber who will take you under their tutelage.  The apprenticeship program can range from 4-5 years. It is imperative and highly advised for an apprentice to ask questions to learn as much as they can during their apprenticeship under a master plumber. The goal for any aspiring plumber should be to acquire their apprenticeship.

5. How Long Does It Take To Become A Plumber?

This exam is only for those who have completed their apprenticeship program in the plumbing trade. The reason most apprenticeship programs range from 4-5 years is because this exam requires 4-5 years of field knowledge and experience before an applicant can take the plumbers exam. This exam signifies that a person is capable of completing all the skills within the plumbing profession and can now work as a plumber under a master plumber.  This exam will test your newly acquired knowledge of plumbing standards, maintenance and repairs from your years of experience as an apprentice. The test will include aspects such as:

  • Installation of plumbing systems
  • Standard state and federal plumbing codes
  • Knowledge of how to repair and maintain plumbing systems

6. What To Do After Certification

It is always important to keep up-to-date with any profession you choose to seek. There are innovations in plumbing ever so often. Every plumber should be aware of new technologies for energy conservation and water efficiency for plumbing. Plumbers must also grow along with our tech savvy world, so they can offer the best solutions to their customers, as well as expand their customer base. Many universities offer to learn programs within the plumbing trade to acquire certifications in the use and installation of new technologies.

Those are the steps in becoming a plumber. It is a long path to becoming a skilled professional in the trade, but as I stated before, what you learn is something that will helpful for a lifetime.

Forbes ranked the plumbing profession in their list of top 20 blue collar jobs.