Plumbers install and repair pipes that supply water and gas to, as well as carry waste away from, homes and businesses. They also install plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, and appliances, including dishwashers and washing machines. Experienced plumbers train apprentices and supervise helpers.

Why should you consider a career in Plumbing?

Plumbing is not just a good job but it’s an excellent career. People will always need plumbers. With ever-changing state and city regulations and codes, a licensed plumber is not only preferred but necessary. 

One of the most immediate benefits of starting a career in plumbing is that you can start making money right away.

  • Plumbing is an earn while you learn profession.
  • You work and train under the supervision of a licensed plumber as you prepare for your own license.
  • Not only are you making money right out of the gate, because you don’t need a college degree, there’s no need for student loans.
  • While your friends are accumulating thousands of dollars in debt and preparing for a life of searching for work and paying off loans, you’re learning a useful skill in a secure profession and making money in the process.” (Source)

Your Career in Plumbing Starts HERE.

Average Wages

Average Plumber Salary
Skill Level Hourly Yearly
Apprentice (starting) $15 – $20 $20,000 – $45,000
Journeyman $20 – $30 $40,000 – $55,000
Master $30 – $45+ $55,000 – $90,000+

Step 1

Set Your Foundation for Education

Earning your high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, is your first step on the path to becoming a professional plumber. Having a basic knowledge of reading, writing, science and math are critical to pursuing any career in the pro trade industry. For plumbers, having an advanced knowledge of math and science are absolutely necessary since the work often involves making accurate measurements and gauging water. Areas of your high school or equivalent education that will benefit you as a plumber include:

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Metric units of measure
  • Thermodynamics
  • Biology

Pro tip: Keep your record clean.

In addition to earning your high school diploma or GED, other factors that can impact your plumbing career are your driving record, your criminal background and your ability to pass a drug test. Training programs and future employers might be deterred from working with you for safety and insurance reasons if you have:

  • DUIs or DWIs
  • Reckless driving convictions
  • An extensive number of moving violations
  • Certain misdemeanor offenses
  • Felony convictions of any kind
  • Failed a drug test

If you have a valid driver’s license, are drug-free and have a clean driving record and criminal background, then it will likely be easier for you to pursue a plumbing career. 

Step 2

Enroll in technical courses

Once you’ve earned your high school diploma or equivalent, the next step is to enroll in technical plumbing courses. Many states require a certain number of hours in the classroom in order to become a licensed plumber. Technical courses are offered by a variety of public and private schools and programs. Check out local community colleges, trade institutions, unions or professional plumbing associations for information about plumbing programs in your area. The curriculum will depend on your city or state’s requirements, but topics could include:

  • Pipe cutting and soldering
  • Draining and venting
  • Electrical basics
  • Water heating systems
  • Local plumbing codes

Recommendation: Joining the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Associations can help you grow your plumbing career.

Step 3

Find an apprenticeship

Depending on where you live, you will likely be required to work alongside an experienced plumber as an apprentice for a certain number of hours. The length of the apprenticeship will vary, but could take as long as two to five years. You might be able to complete your apprenticeship while you are enrolled in technical courses. In order to find a plumbing apprenticeship, you can start by checking with the trade school or organization through which you are receiving technical training. If they do not offer an apprenticeship program, they will likely have information about where to find one.

Pro tip: You can also check with local plumbing businesses to see if they are hiring apprentices. Not only will you receive valuable on-the-job training from a seasoned pro, but they might offer to pay you for the hours you work. This gives you the opportunity to earn while you learn.

Step 4

Take the test

Certain areas will require you to pass a written exam, a practical test or both in order for you to earn your plumbing license. If testing is required in your area, you will likely have to take it once you have completed your technical courses and your apprenticeship program. In general, you can expect the exam to be cumulative of what you learned on the job and in the classroom. Based on your state and local requirements, you might then be considered a licensed journeyman plumber once you pass the test. If so, then you might be legally allowed to complete plumbing contract work without the assistance of another qualified plumber depending on where you live.