Individuals who hope to become a plumber need to enjoy working with their hands as well as being problem solvers. Those who choose this career path will not only work with tools and objects, but with people as well.
The need for plumbers as well as the potential for high income looks promising in the near future. The following discusses various aspects of becoming a plumber.
What a Plumber Does
Plumbers install, maintain, and repair water systems and pipes. Plumbers work in a variety of sectors including residential, construction, and industrial. Most plumbers work regular hours which consist of five days each week, eight hours a day. Of course some plumbers are on call to assist in emergency situations which means working weekends and even holidays.
How Much a Plumber Makes
How much a plumber makes varies considerably. These variables include where a plumber lives, how much experience he or she has, and the level of education the plumber has acquired. An apprentice plumber can earn $15,000 to $20,000 yearly for the first few years. A journeyman plumber may start out around $30,000 and average $40,000 to $50,000 a year. A Master Plumber with many years of experience can earn up toward $200,000 a year.
How to Become a Plumber
Even though a traditional four year degree is not necessary to become a plumber, students would be mistaken if they think they can completely disregard academics and still have a career as a plumber. Graduating from high school is the first step in becoming a plumber. Increasingly employers are looking at a student's math skills, especially basic geometry and metric skills. A perspective plumber must then become an apprentice. What is required to begin an apprenticeship varies from state to state. Some states require some sort of vocational training and classroom experience while other apprentice programs require strictly on the job training.
Getting a Plumbing License
Although it varies from state to state, to obtain a plumbing license applicants will generally have to work under a master plumber for at least four years. After this they will receive a journeyman license for plumbing. At least four more years of experience will be required to obtain the master license. At each stage the applicant will not only have to put in a required amount of time working but also pass a written test as well. To pass the journeyman exam the applicant not only needs to have adequate knowledge of plumbing systems but understand local and federal plumbing codes. For a master license another exam will need to be passed after the required number of years on the job has been completed. Some states also require further examinations regarding legal issues and the business aspects of plumbing. Apprentice programs are often ran by plumber's unions. After completing the required amount of time as an apprentice an individual will be ready to take the journeyman's exam. Drug tests are usually required as part of the process as well.
Plumbing codes are the regulations and rules regarding design and installation of plumbing systems that are put into various buildings. The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) is an American standard of plumbing systems that was designed to help protect the health and safety of the public. While there are national codes, states and local communities sometimes have their own separate codes that plumbers must abide by as well.
A journeyman will be responsible for fixing a variety of water systems, including toilets, sinks, showers, and all the piping involved in these systems. Installation of water systems is another part of a journeyman's job and he or she will need to be able to read and understand various designs and blueprints.
After completing the required amount of time as an apprentice and then a journeyman, an individual can apply for a master plumber's license. The requirements vary from state to state. The requirements usually include passing an exam as well as providing documentation proving how many years of work experience the individual has. Master plumbers sometimes are required to carry liability insurance. Master plumbers not only read blueprints but may be designing them as well. They can become contractors or start their own businesses.