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What education is needed for welding/plumbing?

I Graduate next year and would like to get a better job than the one I have now which is a pizza place.

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Subject: Career question for you


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Cassandra’s Answer

Very good question. I would go visit your local workforce solutions office. For your location, it would be the Virginia Career Works/ Virginia Commission office (it's a workforce solutions center). There you will be able to use their career center/computer lab for free to research careers in welding and plumbing but the best part is that you can ask about their FREE training program. You will have to attend their orientation and fill out an application and possibly take an assessment. If you are qualified (which I am sure you are) the workforce will pay for your training.

Call them and make an appointment to talk to their career counselor.

I wish you the best!

Cassandra recommends the following next steps:

contact the Virginia Career Works and ask for their url for the job board
research jobs in the area in the field of plumbing and welding
make an appointment to speak with an career counselor from the Virginia Career Works office
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Nattakarn’s Answer

Hello, Isaac

Please see below and the links to more details about to to become a Plumber and a welder.

Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter


How to Become a Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their jobs through an apprenticeship.
Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn on the job through an apprenticeship. Some also attend vocational-technical school. Most states and some localities require plumbers to be licensed.

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to become a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter. Vocational-technical schools offer courses in pipe system design, safety, and tool use. They also offer welding courses that are required by some pipefitter and steamfitter apprenticeship training programs.

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their trade through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship. Apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training, as well as some technical instruction, each year. Technical instruction includes safety, local plumbing codes and regulations, and blueprint reading. Apprentices also study mathematics, applied physics, and chemistry. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by unions, trade associations, and businesses. Most apprentices enter a program directly, but some start out as helpers or complete a pre-apprenticeship training programs in plumbing and other trades.

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters complete an apprenticeship program and pass the required licensing exam to become journey-level workers. Journey-level plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are qualified to perform tasks independently. Plumbers with several years of plumbing experience who pass another exam earn master status. Some states require master plumber status in order to obtain a plumbing contractor’s license.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Most states and some localities require plumbers to be licensed. Although licensing requirements vary, states and localities often require workers to have 2 to 5 years of experience and to pass an exam that shows their knowledge of the trade before allowing plumbers to work independently.

Plumbers may also obtain optional certification, such as in plumbing design, to broaden career opportunities. In addition, most employers require plumbers to have a driver’s license.

Some states require pipefitters and steamfitters to be licensed; they may also require a special license to work on gas lines. Licensing typically requires an exam or work experience or both. Contact your state’s licensing board for more information.

After completing an apprenticeship and becoming licensed at the journey level, plumbers may advance to become a master plumber, supervisor, or project manager. Some plumbers choose to start their own business as an independent contractor, which may require additional licensing.

Important Qualities
Communication skills. Plumbers must be able to direct workers, bid on jobs, and plan work schedules. Plumbers also talk to customers regularly.

Dexterity. Plumbers must be able to maneuver parts and tools precisely, often in tight spaces.

Mechanical skills. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters choose from a variety of tools to assemble, maintain, and repair pipe systems.

Physical strength. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters must be able to lift and move heavy tools and materials.

Troubleshooting skills. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters find, diagnose, and repair problems. They also help with setting up and testing new plumbing and piping systems.

Career Requirements
Education Required High school diploma and apprenticeship (industry standard) or an associate's degree program
Degree Field: Plumbing
Experience 2-5 years' related work experience
Key Skills: Ability to work independently, detail-oriented, skilled with problem-solving, business-oriented, customer service skills
Licensure Required in most states
Salary $55,160 per year (May 2019 median salary for all plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters)*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Penn Foster Career School,

Step 1: Choose a Plumbing Program
Both diploma and associate's degree plumbing programs are available and can provide students with the entry-level skills and knowledge to enter plumbing apprentice programs. Plumbing degree and diploma programs also prepare students for related trades, such as industrial pipefitting and sprinkler fitting. Individuals interested in combining in-depth plumbing training with general education courses should pursue an associate's degree. Students might consider schools that offer job placement programs. Plumbing courses might include plumbing theory, water hydraulics, distribution systems, and advanced plumbing.

Step 2: Apprenticeship Program
Apprenticeships are entry-level training programs primarily offered by union organizations, such as the United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, and HVAC Service Techs. Organizations affiliated with unions and non-union plumbing contracting companies also offer apprenticeships. These programs typically don't require a degree or postsecondary diploma, but they do require a high school diploma or GED and prefer applicants with formal training and education. Admission to an apprenticeship program can be very competitive.

Apprenticeships provide the most thorough plumbing training and can include up to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training as well as 246 hours of technical education. These programs typically take four or five years to complete and include classroom instruction, as well as on-the-job training. Apprentices lay pipe, read blueprints, and interpret plumbing codes. They receive significant hands-on experience with plumbing tools, such as reamers, snakes, benders, and chisels. Apprentices receive approximately half the pay of licensed plumbers for their work. Individuals who complete apprenticeship programs are qualified to become licensed plumbers.

Step 3: Become Licensed
Most states require plumbers to obtain a license in order to practice the trade. State licensing requirements vary, but many mandate that plumbers have no less than two to five years of work experience and pass an exam covering plumbing practices and codes. Individuals will want to check licensing requirements in the state where they plan to work.

Step 4: Find a Job
Those who finish training programs and apprenticeships can look for plumbing jobs with construction companies and plumbing, air conditioning, and heating contractors. Many plumbers work as freelancers or contractors after gaining a license and experience. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters were expected to experience a 14% growth in jobs from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was much faster than average. The demand for plumbers was expected to increase because of the growing construction of new buildings and the need to maintain and repair existing structures.

If considering a career as a licensed plumber, remember to check the state requirements, for they may include the completion of a diploma or associate's degree from a technical school, completion of an apprenticeship, and the passing of an exam on best practices and plumbing codes. Once licensed, an individual can work as a freelance plumber or work for construction, plumbing, or heating companies that fix and install plumbing fixtures, pipes, and plumbing and heating systems.

What Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers Do

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair, or cut metal parts and products.

Work Environment

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers may work outdoors, often in inclement weather, or indoors, sometimes in a confined area. They may work on a scaffold, high off the ground, and they occasionally must lift heavy objects and work in awkward positions. Most work full time and overtime is common.

How to Become a Welder, Cutter, Solderer, or Brazer

A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer.

The median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $42,490 in May 2019.

Job Outlook
Employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The nation’s aging infrastructure will require the expertise of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers to help rebuild bridges, highways, and buildings.
How to Become a Welder, Cutter, Solderer, or BrazerAbout this section
welders cutters solderers and brazers image
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must have a steady hand to hold a torch in place.
A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer.

Education & Training
A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer. High school technical education courses and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational–technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding, soldering, and brazing schools offer formal technical training. In addition, the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces operate welding and soldering schools.

Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful.

An understanding of electricity also is helpful, and knowledge of computers is gaining importance as welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators become more responsible for programming robots and other computer-controlled machines.

Although numerous employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who have been through training or credentialing programs. Even entry-level workers with formal technical training still receive several months of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Courses leading to certification are offered at many welding schools. For example, the American Welding Society offers the Certified Welder designation.

Some welding positions require general certification in welding or certification in specific skills, such as Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Robotic Arc Welding.

The Institute for Printed Circuits offers certification and training in soldering. In industries such as aerospace and defense, which need highly skilled workers, many employers require these certifications. Certification can show mastery of lead-free soldering techniques, which are important to many employers.

Some employers pay the cost of training and testing for employees.

Important Qualities
Detail oriented. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers perform precision work, often with straight edges and minimal flaws. The ability to see details and characteristics of the joint and detect changes in molten metal flows requires good eyesight and attention to detail.

Manual dexterity. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must have a steady hand to hold a torch in one place. Workers must also have good hand–eye coordination.

Physical stamina. The ability to endure long periods of standing and repetitious movements is important for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.

Physical strength. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be in good physical condition. They often must lift heavy pieces of metal and move welding or cutting equipment, and they sometimes bend, stoop, or reach while working.

Spatial-orientation skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must read, understand, and interpret two- and three-dimensional diagrams in order to fit metal products correctly.

Technical skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must operate manual or semiautomatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments.
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Anthony’s Answer

Hey Isaac,

Here are the ONET profiles for each field. The "Education" tab has the details.

Welding -

Plumbing -

Also, I would suggest looking at the job leads of each of these positions to see what they are requesting.

Hope that helps
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Dan’s Answer

Hello Isaac,

With trades like Welding and Plumbing i would suggest using the internet and finding the local Plumbers / Welders Unions in your area.
Trade Unions are well set up to start you off as a brand new apprentice and train you to become the best at your chosen trade.

With both of those fields i feel you could get some great experience and see where the path you choose takes you.

Best of luck