By
Maithili Mokashi
April 18, 2020

Plumbing Guide: The Basics to Becoming a Plumber

Plumbing: A growing profession

Every building has a plumbing system, and so plumbing as a profession is not going away anytime soon. When plumbing systems face any problems, such as clogged, leaked, or broken pipes, plumbers are the only ones who have the skills to fix them. Plumbing might be a suitable profession for you if you like to solve problems by working with your hands.Additionally, you can't put a price tag upon job satisfaction. Through their work, plumbers improve the quality of people's lives. Where would we be without a good plumbing system that delivers us clean water and safely gets rid of sewage? We would all be at risk of getting infected by harmful diseases. Keeping the plumbing systems in our homes and cities in good working order is a worthy task that protects the health and the general well being of people.

Job Outlook

Whether for a residential job or for a commercial one, one can confidently say that Plumbing is a stable career choice or a secure profession as plumbers will always be needed in the market. Furthermore, Plumbing is a profession that can neither be easily replaced by automation nor can it be outsourced to other countries. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for plumbers is expected to rise by 14%, which is much higher than for an average job. (The average growth rate for other occupations is 5 percent.) Plumbers are needed across various types of industries. They could be designing plumbing systems in new constructions, repairing or replacing old fixtures and pipelines, expanding a city's water systems, or developing new plumbing technologies. As long as there are water and people, plumbers will always be needed.

Pay for plumbers

The median salary for plumbers in the United States is $57,083 per year as of March 26, 2020, and the range typically lies between $49,650 and $65,305. The salary can change based on several important factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and work experience.

Basic Levels of Plumbing:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyperson
  • Master
  • Subcontractor (licensed to work independently)

Core plumbing skills:

Every good plumber should have or work towards acquiring some essential plumbing skills, including:

  1. Plumbing installation, troubleshooting, and repair
  2. Being up-to-date on plumbing trends & technology
  3. Reading Blueprints
  4. Estimating installations and repair costs
  5. Being handy with manual and power tools
  6. Plumbing Code
  7. Plumber safety procedures
  8. Teamwork
  9. Customer service
  10. Flexibility
  11. Physical fitness

Becoming a plumber

Most plumbers start their career with an apprenticeship, which is a combination of classroom instruction and paid "on-the-job" training. Most states in the U.S. also require a license to work independently.

Apprenticeship: Either an employer or a trade union can sponsor your apprenticeship. An apprenticeship typically lasts for four to five years and comprises of two thousand hours of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. They require you to have a high school or equivalent diploma. You also must be at over 18 years of age to be eligible for any program. In the classroom, they will teach you about local codes and regulations, reading blueprints, and safety, whereas you will get plenty of practical experience on the job, too.

License: In addition to needing two to five years of experience, plumbers need a license to be able to work in most states and municipalities in the U.S. You also need to appear for and get at least a passing grade in an exam. This requirement also varies depending on the state that issued you the plumbing license.

Landing your first job:

According to Home Builders Institute (HBI), if you are an entry-level plumber, businesses like land developers, general contractors, and remodelers might be able to use your help. Your trade school where you did your apprenticeship might have relationships with local plumbing contractors. If you are looking for plumbing work, you can find jobs for all levels of plumbers on Workyard. (You can also hire plumbers on Workyard).

Keeping up with new plumbing trends & technology

A good plumber always stays up to date on new technology and trends in the field, so that they can offer the latest services whenever their customers demand them. For example, several customers nowadays want to be ecofriendly as well as lower their monthly plumbing bills. Other customers also aspire modern decors in their kitchens and bathrooms, with plumbing fixtures that can be controlled digitally.Successful plumbers are accustomed to installing and repairing the latest products and solutions like:

  • Hands-free faucets and toilets equipped with sensors to turn off and on
  • Showers that can be programmed with customized lighting, temperature, and sound
  • Digital leak-monitoring systems that detect leaks right away and send notifications to the owner's smartphone
  • Greywater recycling systems that recycle "gently" used water from showers, washing machines, and dishwashers, for re-use in the home and garden

Bottom line:

You have to be willing to continue learning and keep building new skills, to really compete as a plumber.

Questions?

Have specific questions? Feel free to post in the comments.

Sources

1. The Balance Careers

2. Brutinel

3. US News

4. Salary.com

5. Pat Institute

6. Explore the trades

7. BLS.gov

Looking for a better way to track time & job costs?

Workyard provides leading workforce software for built for Construction & Field Services companies.

Learn More

Need help hiring skilled workers?

We can help you hire skilled workers without the pain of sourcing, interviewing, on-boarding and wasting your time with bad hires.

Learn More

Looking for a construction job?

Join our career platform for skilled trades.
Apply for jobs with great local employers in minutes.

Apply for jobs