How To Become A Plumber | A Step By Step Guide To A Plumbing Career
If you’re interested in how to become a plumber, you’re not alone. The plumbing trades are extremely popular these days, even in a slow moving economy such as ours. The key is preparing yourself as early in the process as possible so that you are able to get a good plumbing apprenticeship.
Let’s take a look at the steps you will need to take in order to become eligible for plumbing apprenticeships in your state. Keep in mind, every state may have different requirements, but the majority will follow these general rules…
How To Become A Plumber | 4 Steps To Success
The very first step you’ll need to take to become a plumber, is to become a apprentice. In order to determine your eligibility, you’ll need to meet all or most of these general requirements (depending on your state of residence)…
Step 1 – High School Graduation and Proficiency
Graduating from high school is essential if you are interested in the plumbing career. Not only that, but plumber unions and employers are looking for skilled workers who are good at math. While it’s not a requirement, being proficient in basic math, geometry and the metric system will give you an edge in employment.
Make no mistake, this industry has become competitive! Employers that are looking at the applicants to their plumbing apprenticeships will also request ACT scores, specifically looking at the math section. If you scored well there, you will be looked at a little harder than someone who was below average.
Step 2 – Vocational Plumbing Courses
To be a certified plumber, you do not need to have a college degree. However, technical school or college programs geared toward the occupation are highly recommended and will help you get into a good apprenticeship program. These programs are competitive, so any edge you can give yourself will help when you apply.
Every state has different mandatory requirements, plumbing courses and total hours needed during, or before you get an apprenticeship. In other words, you may have to complete a course or two prior to getting an apprenticeship. To find out what you’re state requires, see: Plumbing Apprenticeships By State
Step 3 – Complete A Plumbing Apprenticeship Program
The third step in how to become a plumber is the most important one: The Apprenticeship. Plumbing apprenticeships are normally run by your local plumber’s union, and offer the very best training for the profession. Technical schools and plumbing courses are good for a base of knowledge, but the classroom training coupled with real world experience you’ll get from a master plumber is second to none.
Plumbing apprenticeship programs are open to anyone who has graduated high school and is 18 years of age. However, some apprentices are allowed in at 17 if they’ve graduated high school. The program lasts anywhere from 4 to 5 years and also has a specific minimum number of hours you’ll need to log as an apprentice.
In addition, apprentice plumbers are required to have a minimum of 144 hours of related classroom hours that may or may not be offered by your local plumber’s union. If they do not, you will need to find your own accredited plumbing courses or program to go with your on-the-job training.
In order to be taken on as an apprentice, you’ll need to apply via written application and take an aptitude test if required by your local union. Although it sounds simple, you need to be aware that plumber’s trade is competitive and may have hundreds of applicants for just a few apprenticeship spots. Scoring well on the math section of the ACT and also their aptitude test will really help you get your application moved up to the top of the pile.
Other requirements may include…
- A Clean Driving Record
- No Criminal Record
- Valid Driver License/State ID
- Mandatory Drug Testing
It is also worth noting that even if you don’t get accepted into the apprenticeship at your local union, you can also contact master plumbers in your area that run their own businesses and ask them if they would take you on as an apprentice.
Logging your plumber apprentice hours is also essential as there is a minimum number of field experience hours you’ll need to meet. Every state has different requirements, so check with yours to be sure.
Step 4 – Take the Journeyman Plumber’s Exam
Once you’ve met your plumbing apprenticeships minimum classroom and field hour requirements, it’s time to take the next step: Becoming a Journeyman Plumber. In order to do that, you’ll have to take and pass the Journeyman’s test, but there are a few things that are required first:
First, you’ll need a signed affidavit from the master plumber you worked under for your apprenticeship verifying the number of working hours you completed, along with his/her plumber certification number.
Secondly, you’ll need to be finished with your classroom hours in order to take the state exam. Once done, you will have an extensive knowledge of the plumbing systems that are covered on the exam and should be well prepared.
Lastly, register for your state’s journeyman plumber’s exam. While awaiting the exam date, review different prep materials, guides and also practice tests. If you’d like to see a good practice exam, click here.
Once you’ve taken and passed your journeyman’s plumbing exam, you are officially a certified plumber. The next step is getting a master plumber certification, which can be accomplished by continuing your education and field experience as a journeyman.