Skilled Trades Careers

How to Become a Plumber in America 2023

DateAugust 15, 2023
how to become a plumber

If you're interested in learning how to become a plumber, it's a highly rewarding path to pursue with a variety of career options. Plumbing is an essential trade that plays a vital role in maintaining our modern infrastructure.

From fixing leaky pipes to installing new plumbing systems, plumbers are in high demand. If you have an interest in working with your hands and solving problems, a career as a plumber may be perfect. This article outlines the steps you need to take to become a plumber in any state in America.

What is a plumber?

A plumber is a skilled professional who works on one or more aspects of plumbing systems. They are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing fixtures and systems that are essential for the smooth functioning of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

Most of their work involves water supply lines, drainage systems, and gas pipe installations. They are knowledgeable in following standards and codes and using specialized tools and equipment.

This career path has many specializations to follow, including jobs focused on heating and cooling systems, medical gas piping systems, and more.

Becoming a plumber requires a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience through apprenticeship programs or trade schools.

Types of plumber and how much they make

There are many different types of plumbers, but they can all be placed into one of three categories: Apprentices, journeymen, and masters.

Plumber salaries America SkillHero

According to the latest data, apprentice plumbers earn around $36,700 per year on average, journeyman plumbers earn approximately $59,880 per year, and masters can earn up to $99,920 or more annually.

Why become a plumber?

Working in this skilled trade comes with a stable job market, flexible work schedules, and the choice between growing your career or starting your own business.

There is a growing demand for skilled tradespeople in the plumbing industry. Between our aging infrastructure and new construction projects, the need for practical services continues to rise. This creates a high level of job security and the potential for long-term employment.

Having a variety of employment and entrepreneurial options creates greater control over your schedule and work-life balance. If you don't want to do the same thing every day, being able to choose between residential, commercial, or industrial projects adds versatility to the field.

If you want to get started, sign up for the free SkillHero app, where you can discover the best skilled trade opportunities and training programs.

How to become a plumber

There are several necessary steps you can take to become qualified in this skilled trade. From completing an apprenticeship program or trade school to obtaining a plumbing license, the path requires a combination of education, hands-on experience, and certification.

Get your high school diploma or alternative accreditation

A high school diploma or alternative accreditation provides the educational foundation you'll need to get started in this field.

Proficiency in basic math and being able to give and follow clear instructions are critical in skilled trades. By obtaining a high school diploma or alternative such as a GED, you can lay the groundwork for a successful career.

Find a plumber apprenticeship

Finding an apprenticeship is crucial because it offers valuable hands-on experience and allows for the development of essential skills. Apprenticeships typically range from two to five years and require a set amount of hours working alongside a licensed plumber.

The SkillHero app's primary features are designed to help students and other beginners in the skilled trades connect with opportunities like apprenticeships, so sign up for your free account today so you can start discovering local options.

On our app you can browse through the profiles of master plumbers, see what type of experience they have, and reach out to see if they have any current openings. We'll also keep you updated on industry events and other education and employment opportunities.

Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to work under the supervision of someone who created or earned a senior role in a successful plumbing business. The value of the guidance and job training for a career in a plumbing trade cannot be overstated.

Choose a specialization

Choosing a specialization in the plumbing field can open up a world of benefits and opportunities. Here are some of the different specializations and what they entail:

  1. Residential Plumbing: Specializing in residential plumbing allows you to work on homes and apartment buildings. This includes installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems for faucets, toilets, showers, and more.
  2. Commercial Plumbing: Commercial plumbers focus on larger-scale projects, such as office buildings, hotels, and shopping centers. They deal with more complex systems and may work on projects like installing piping for sprinkler systems or repairing boilers.
  3. Industrial Plumbing: Industrial plumbers work in manufacturing plants and factories, handling industrial equipment and large-scale plumbing systems. They often deal with unique systems like water treatment plants and process piping.
  4. Service and Repair Plumbing: This specialization involves providing maintenance and repairs for various plumbing issues in both residential and commercial settings. Plumbers in this field need strong diagnostic and problem-solving skills.
  5. Pipefitting: Pipefitters specialize in installing and repairing pipes used for gas, water, and other fluids. They typically work in construction sites and industrial settings and may require additional certifications.

Choosing a specialization in plumbing requires specific training and skills. Professional associations like the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) offer certifications for different specializations, giving you credibility and more job opportunities.

Consider the benefits and opportunities each specialization offers, and pursue the training and certifications needed to excel in your chosen field of expertise.

Continue improving and expanding skills

Continuing education is a valuable opportunity to stay updated with the latest plumbing codes and techniques. Various vocational schools and trade organizations offer classes and workshops on advanced plumbing skills, allowing plumbers to enhance their knowledge and abilities.

Attending workshops and seminars can also provide valuable learning experiences. These events often feature industry experts who share their expertise and insights on the latest trends and technologies.

Pursuing advanced certifications is another avenue for skill development. Many professional associations offer certifications in specialized areas of plumbing such as medical gas piping systems or process piping. Obtaining these certifications not only expands your skillset but also increases your credibility and job opportunities.

By investing in professional development, you can stay competitive and ensure their success in the dynamic field of plumbing.

Who should be a plumber?

To enjoy a career as a plumber, certain qualities can be helpful. Physical stamina is essential, as the job often involves regular exertion and laborious tasks. Plumbers must also possess strong problem-solving skills, as they frequently encounter complex issues that require analytical thinking.

Being able to work independently is another key trait. Plumbers often have to make decisions and perform tasks on their own, requiring self-reliance and initiative. Familiarity and comfort with tools and equipment is a must, as plumbers rely on various instruments to fix, install, and maintain plumbing systems.

Good communication and customer service skills are also vital. You may interact with clients and need to effectively convey information, provide recommendations, and address concerns. A friendly and professional demeanor goes a long way in establishing trust and ensuring customer satisfaction.

If you're ready to start your plumbing career, sign up for the free SkillHero app and discover the best opportunities currently available to you.