Plumbing is one of the most profitable career paths. If you’re interested in pursuing plumbing as your career, you must have in-depth knowledge about everything it entails.
Plumbing is much more complex than DIY home projects will lead you to believe. For as long as people use indoor plumbing, you’ll always have a job. Pair this with flexible working hours and it’s an attractive vocation that offers good work-life balance.
So what do you need to study to make a career in plumbing? Here’s everything you need to know.
Plumbing is more than a DIY project or something you develop by being a natural at it. Just like every career, the key to success is knowing as much as possible about the job. Here are five things you need to take into consideration:
As a general rule, you will need to have a high school diploma or a GED to pursue this career path. As a student, you should focus on learning soft skills as they are the groundwork of a good plumbing business.
More often than not, clients are anxious and overwhelmed so you should be able to weigh in on the options available to them and advise them on which solution is most suitable.
It’s good to start with an entry-level job so you can familiarize yourself with the needs, requirements, and demands of plumbing.
Formal training in plumbing will be a big help. Many schools and community colleges offer a short one-year program for aspiring plumbers. This can help you advance quickly in the field while teaching you the required skills.
After this program, you can pursue an apprenticeship program or go on to earn an associate’s degree.
Follow up formal training with a 5-year apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs are offered by non-union contractors as well as local unions and their affiliates. They include on-the-job training which can be paid or unpaid.
Five years may sound like a long time, but this period will help you build your knowledge of plumbing from the ground up. From installation and troubleshooting to repair and maintenance, you’ll learn everything there is to know so by the time you finish you’ll be confident and can handle almost any problem thrown your way.
There are no uniform licensing standards but most states require plumbers to be licensed before offering their services commercially. Sometimes, you may even have to appear for an examination to get your license which warrants knowledge and experience in the field.
You’ll be asked about plumbing codes in the exam and will be assessed accordingly. Look up exam guidelines on the internet. The more familiar you are with the requirements of the test, the better your preparation and results.
Certification is optional. However, it will definitely give you an edge. You’ll have access to better opportunities in terms of assignments and advancements. If you plan on being a plumber for the long haul, you should consider becoming certified.
Technology is constantly evolving. As a plumber, you should study and know how to apply the latest trends and technology in plumbing.
Many plumbing trends nowadays are directed towards more responsible and sustainable uses of our environment. It would thus be good to learn new skills that are related to it.
For example, if your customer wants to incorporate ‘smart tech’ in their plumbing, you should be able to install and configure the necessary technology into their home.
Knowing your way around blueprints will help you install fixtures and appliances correctly. As a plumber, you should be able to read architectural and mechanical drawings to locate municipal sources of water and route pipelines accordingly.
Additionally, you should also be able to calculate cost estimates, write invoices, troubleshoot water pressure issues, and make plumbing installation decisions.
Plumbing requires a set of tools. Sometimes the problem can be fixed with manual tools like plungers, snakes, and wrenches. Other times, it may require power tools like sump pumps, welding torches, and power threaders to tackle the plumbing issue.
You will be taught everything there is to know about these tools during plumbing training which will be followed by in-depth education during the apprenticeship program. You should also have good sensory skills to operate your tools.
When it comes to plumbing, there’s a certain set of rules and regulations you need to follow to deliver top-tier service to your customers. Learning the Uniform Plumbing Code is a must.
The plumbing code is a standard for the installation, repair, and design of plumbing systems. The plumbing code is steadily evolving to keep up with the times so you’ll need to keep an eye out for any changes that you can apply in your plumbing business.
As a plumber, you may find yourself in potentially risky positions and situations during repairs and installations. It’s thus important to know how to resolve plumbing issues in the safest and most sanitary way possible.
You should know how to:
Prevent electrical hazards
Work in confined spaces
Carry out procedures in wet working environments
While it’s something that’s taught as part of plumbing education, you need to carry out the same safety precautions and procedures for the entirety of your plumbing career.
Modern plumbing is here to stay. This makes it one of the most stable and important career paths. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for plumbers are expected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029. This is in line with the national growth average for all occupations.
Now that you know what you need to study to become a plumber, it’s time to act on it. Contact an admissions advisor who can provide you with more in-depth details.
Plumbing covers a wide scope so you’ll need to be open to learning and adapting your skills accordingly. With time, hard work, and experience, you can become a master plumber and receive higher pay and additional benefits.