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How to become a plumber?

Share your journey & guide aspiring plumbers on their path.

Note: Given the growing interest in plumbing, we're inviting our experienced professionals to share their knowledge.

Thank you comment icon Hello there! Depending on your location, you might want to explore local community colleges or technical schools. Also, consider reaching out to plumbing firms in your area. They might be open to guiding you and giving you a firsthand experience of how the plumbing industry operates. Jeffrey W. Coleman

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Doc’s Answer

STEP 1) HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE OR GED
Math is central to the plumbing trade. Individuals who are interested in becoming a plumber should have a strong background in algebra, geometry, metric units of measure, or thermodynamics should do well in these programs. You might also want to earn a college degree or complete a formal training program before looking into plumbing apprenticeships. These programs are typically offered at community colleges or trade schools. While they aren’t required, they will help you stand out from other applicants also applying for plumber apprenticeships.

STEP 2) PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIPS
Anyone who wishes to one day become a licensed plumber will need to complete a plumbing apprenticeship program. These programs will provide on-the-job training and introduce trainees to topics including OSHA safety, state codes, blueprint reading, and drafting. An apprenticeship must be carried out under the supervision of a master plumber. Most apprenticeship programs take between
2-5 years to complete.

Step 3) BECOME A JOURNEYMAN PLUMBER
Once you’ve completed your necessary hours as a plumber’s apprentice, you can apply to take the C-36 plumbing contractor exam. This 6 hour test has two sections: one that covers plumbing work and one that covers the laws and regulations around operating a plumbing business. It will cost you $500 to take the exam and you will get your results in 1-3 months. If you pass the exam, you will be a fully licensed journeyman plumber. Earning your plumber’s license and becoming a fulltime journeyman plumber is a profitable and rewarding career path. Once licensed, the average annual salary for a plumber in California is around $69,000 a year, the highest of any state in the U.S.

NOTE) MASTER PLUMBER
Master plumber is the highest level you can achieve in the plumbing trade. To become a master plumber, you’ll need to work 1-5 years as a journeyman plumber and take a more comprehensive exam that tests your knowledge of specialized plumbing systems.
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Justin’s Answer

This is subjective to where you live, I live in PA and each county is different. Some counties you just need to work under a master plumber for 4 years then take the test and you become a journeyman. In my county you must be an apprentice for 4 years and go to one of the three approved apprentice schools. Each school covers plumbing code and plumbing drawings. To take the journeyman exam you need 576 school hours, passing grade in each semester, and 8,000 work hours. The employer will be for the schooling and the journeyman man exam is $150. On the exam you will have two seconds. The first is multiple choice questions about plumbing code, the second part is a series of drawings.
After you successfully pass the exam and become a journeyman you mist work two years before you can take the masters exam. The masters is the same format as the journeyman, but you have more drawings that are harder and pertain to what a master plumber would do. One drawing is a plot plan you would submit to the county to approve for up coming work.

Other states don't require these steps, some require you work under someone for a tear or two to take the exam. So just research what your state requires and if you are interested jump into the field.

As far as pay is concerned, it's on the rise due to the lack of skilled tradesmen and apprentices to fill the spots. This is also subjective to where you work and how high you can climb the career ladder in that company.
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Ash’s Answer

Hey there, let me tell you, plumbing is an absolutely amazing career choice. Here in Minnesota, we're fortunate to have a robust presence of both union and non-union workers. I myself hail from a family of tradespeople, but none of them were plumbers. I wasn't even certain if I'd enjoy it, but I knew I had the potential to excel in it.

My journey started with a simple step - contacting the local apprenticeship office for the union. They guided me through the application process and gave me a clear idea of what to anticipate.

In my first year, I didn't make it into the program. But I didn't let that deter me. I carried on with my life and gave it another shot. The process was familiar, so I performed much better in my second year. Once I was welcomed into the program, they trained me from scratch and provided me with a stable job, working 40 hours a week with decent pay.

With each passing year, I gained more knowledge and my earnings increased. If a union apprenticeship is a possibility for you, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it. It's a fantastic opportunity!
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