Welcome to Plumbing Apprenticeships Headquarters!
Congratulations on your decision to start a career in the plumbing industry, and welcome to Plumbing Apprenticeships Headquarters! We are the #1 resource site for people looking for information on how to start a plumbing apprenticeship.
Our goal here is to walk you through the entire process of how to become a plumber, step by step, and then help you locate an apprenticeship position. Each state has it’s own requirements for plumbing apprenticeships. Please select your state below to read about regulations so you can get started as quickly as possible.
The plumbing industry (sometimes referred to as pipefitting or steamfitting) is a multi-billion dollar sector of the trades and is always looking for skilled workers to fill vacancies. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the plumbing occupation is growing at a 26% rate, which is faster than the average job growth rate. Even though the United States is experiencing a downturn in employment, the plumbing profession continues to remain strong from an employment standpoint.
Plumbing Apprenticeships | What To Expect
In addition to a “hands on” learning experience, a plumber’s apprentice is required to assist with basic installation and assembly of plumbing, as well as repair of water flow and drainage systems. Additionally, they have the responsibility of following local, state and federal plumbing codes so that the jobs are up to specs.
Skills required to be a good apprentice plumber include math proficiency (algebra and geometry), basic physics and a general working knowledge of plumbing tools and what they’re used for.
Am I Eligible For A Plumbing Apprenticeship?
Eligibility requirements for plumbing apprenticeships differ from state to state. However, in order to apply for an apprenticeship program, you generally need to meet the following…
- Graduate High School
- Be At Least 18 Years of Age
- Hold a Valid Driver License
- Pass Mandatory Drug Test
- No Criminal Record
Are Plumbing Apprentice Jobs Paid?
Yes! The vast majority of plumbing apprenticeships are paid positions as you are responsible for completing a minimum number of hours as part of being an apprentice. In most cases, the apprentice starts out earning roughly half of what a an already certified, journeyman plumber makes. Once you become more experienced, an increase in pay may follow but check with your specific state or union affiliation for specifics.
Just to get an idea, a certified journeyman plumber earns a median salary of $44,522 per year (2013). So, a brand new plumbing apprentice can expect to earn right around $22,250 per year. Keep in mind that this is simply a median or average figure. You could earn more or less as a beginner.
Another nice “perk” is that some unions will pay for your schooling as well. Most apprenticeships require a minimum number of classroom hours at a Junior College or Trade School. These cost money per credit hour, so if it’s paid for, that’s just money that isn’t coming out of your pocket!
What Plumbing Courses Are Required?
As stated previously, classroom instruction is also a required component of your apprenticeship, in addition to the hands-on experience. Some states and unions include courses as part of apprenticeship and are administered “in house” at the union hall. Others require you to fulfill the classroom portion on your own at the local junior college or tech school.
The number of classroom hours and specific course requirements vary from state to state, but generally cover the following…
- CAD and Drafting
- Blueprint Reading
- Mathematics Including Algebra and Geometry
- Courses in Chemistry and Applied Physics
- State Plumbing Codes and Regulations
- OSHA Safety Training
Plumber Job Description
Being a plumber requires a special set of skills that many other tradesmen don’t possess. A plumber’s apprentice is trained to perform the duties of a master plumber by starting out in a limited, support type of role. An apprentice is responsible for assisting with such tasks as…
- Assembly and Installation of Pipe Structures
- Repair of Existing Plumbing Systems
- Staying Compliant with Local and State Plumbing Codes
- Installation of Plumbing Fixtures in a Residential and Commercial Setting
- Other Assistance Such as Tool Organization, Digging Trenches etc.
Once you are finished with the required hours of apprenticeship, your next step is to take and pass the journeyman’s certification test. Once done, you will become a journeyman plumber responsible for more advanced tasks that include…
- Assembly and proficient use of pipe sections and fittings, using couplings, pipe hangers and clamps, using welding equipment, cutting and properly connecting PVC pipe
- Pressure and leak testing new installations and existing plumbing structures
- Working knowledge of electrical systems as the relate to plumbing
- Accurate Interpretation of blueprints, specs and building codes in order to stay compliant
- Evaluating and writing job estimates
- Writing work reports
How To Become A Certified Plumber
Your very first step to becoming a certified journeyman or master plumber is starting an apprenticeship, which is the reason you are here!
There are plumbing apprenticeships available in every state. The key is finding a union that is accepting applicants. Many times, these apprenticeships are in high demand and not every person who is interested is going to accepted.
The VERY FIRST thing you’ll need to do is find an apprenticeship in your state!
Here’s a great intro video that explains how a plumbing apprenticeship is a a lot more than just hanging pipes and unclogging drains!…