Start a Career as a Plumber Today

Training opportunities and schooling to get a job as a plumber are available. Read a guide on the skills and training you need to get a job as a plumber.

Training opportunities and schooling to get a job as a plumber are available online and in-person today. Knowing the steps one needs to take to get a job working as a plumber is an important part of taking your first steps the field. Plumbers need specific job skills to get hired as well. Read an informative guide on the skills and training you need to get a job as a plumber today.

Careers in Plumbing 101

A career in plumbing is a great way to do work that matters to families and business owners alike. Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters earn a median wage of over $56,000 per year. Job prospects are predicted to increase by four percent through 2029 as well, which is slightly above the average increase for all other professions in the U.S. through the same year. Plumbers work in residential and commercial settings, Multiple valuable skills and connections are gained during your tenure as certified professional plumber once you take the steps needed to start your journey.

5 Steps to Take to Get a Job as a Plumber

Step to getting hired as a plumber involve education, training, licensing and experience. Plumbers are needed across the country and long term job security is there for the right candidates. To obtain the best job and wages possible it is important to follow the steps as explained below.

The first step to getting a job as a plumber is good sense for someone pursuing any vocation. Your high school diploma is important because it displays your willingness and ability to see a commitment through to the end. It also displays the level and type of education you received and how well you assimilated your education. If circumstances caused you to not graduate high school it is important to then obtain your GED, which is an equivalency diploma. Some contractors will hire an experienced plumber who does not have his or her high school or equivalency diploma, but most will not. 

Vocational training is required to become a plumber. This is sometimes accomplished during your high school years when high schools offer vo-tech training as part of their normal curriculum. If your high school does not offer vo-tech classes for plumbing you will have to enroll in a specialized vocational training institution. Most vocational programs for plumbing can be completed in as little as two years. Length of program will vary from state to state.

An apprenticeship is also needed to get a job as a licensed, professional plumber. An apprenticeship involves a master plumber taking you under his or her wing and training you on the job. Most apprenticeships are paid albeit at reduced wages compared to what you can earn once licensed. Professional plumbing apprenticeships last anywhere between 2- and five years.

Obtaining your plumber’s license is an integral part of getting hired for the best wages or starting your own plumbing business. Licenses are required in most U.S. states and specific requirements for obtaining yours will depend largely on regulations in the state where you live. The process for becoming a licensed plumber also varies per state but generally includes:

  • Additional hours of classroom education.

  • A specified minimum number of hands-on training.

  • A plumber’s licensing examination.

The final step to getting the job you desire as a plumber is to expand your experience and develop your reputation. This might involve working for another plumbing company until you have enough contacts and experience to branch out on your own. It might also involve taking additional classes to keep your knowledge and training up-to-date with changes in technology. In fact, many states require plumbers to re-certify or renew their licenses every two or three years.

Training Opportunities and Schooling

Training opportunities and school often go together when pursuing a job as a plumber. Vocational schools teach you both basics and specifics but the hands-on work you put in during your apprenticeship teaches you how to further develop and apply your skills. Organizations such as offer plumbers and steamfitters apprenticeship schooling. Nationally known companies such as Roto Rooter also have apprenticeship programs available in 2021.

The United Association (UA) Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs provide unionized apprenticeship opportunities. A unionized apprenticeship offers wages and job security protections but also charges membership dues. Non-unionized apprenticeships offer no wage protections, which means your employer or contractor is able to pay you whatever wage he or she wishes. Often times wages paid during non-unionized apprenticeships are lower than those paid by union contractors. More flexibility in employer choices is available outside the union, however. 

Relevant Job Skills

The training and education plumbers receive teaches specialized skills pursuant to the trade. Vocational schools and apprenticeships also teach relevant business operational and customer service skills. Plumbers must enter homes and businesses, which often requires direct interaction with customers or clients. While many plumbers work in solitary, some work in tandem with other plumbers for a contractor or corporate plumbing or construction outfit.

Plumbers primarily install and repair plumbing, piping and tubing systems related to water services in a building. The job entails much more than this, however. For example, plumbers also do work on gas and heating supply systems. The job involves assessing the overall plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings to ensure the systems follow local, state and federal codes. Plumbers repair and replace toilets and sinks in addition to performing these other jobs and tasks:

  • Preparing cost and repair estimates.

  • Accurately reading building blueprints.

  • Repairing and replacing bathtubs and showers.

  • Repairing and replacing washing machines.

  • Cutting, welding and assembling.

  • Operating specialized testing equipment and power tools.

  • Bending, climbing and lifting as applicable.

Best Ways to Find Plumber Jobs in 2021

Searching for a plumbing job often starts online with dedicated search websites. Because plumbing is such a hands-on job related to construction contracting it is also possible to find work as a plumber through local networking. Some plumbers travel to receive their vocational training but many stay in their home areas when possible. Finding local plumbing jobs is often possible via word-of-mouth through friends, family members and neighbors. Still, online job board websites such as post plumber jobs available across the entire U.S. in 2021. Additional online resources for finding plumber jobs in 2021 include: