Information on the Plumber Career
Plumbers are professionals who work on-site in a business or home to configure and install pipes, fittings, sinks and toilets for the purposes of water and waste management. Plumbers can also be responsible for performing maintenance on these systems, as well as diagnostics and repair in the case of a leak, break, or other sort of malfunction. Additional duties can include measuring, evaluating plans and layouts, product sourcing, negotiating prices for parts and labor, and scheduling. Since training and testing require in-person work, this career can be relatively difficult to prepare for online.
|Required Skills||Mechanical Skills, Dexterity, Physical Strength|
|Job Growth||14% for 2018-2028*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$53,910*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps for Becoming a Plumber Online
Typically the only required education is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, there are options for improving both your technical and practical knowledge of the craft. Although this career typically requires on-the-job training and an in-person license exam, all of the following steps can be completed online except for the required apprenticeship.
Step 1: Build a Knowledge Foundation
Plumbing is a career that involves technical knowledge of a great number of parts, techniques, tools, and procedures. Beginning to understand these things can act as a meaningful first step in preparing to become a licensed plumber.
Online videos can be a great resource for getting a handle on the knowledge and responsibilities involved in being a plumber. There are videos that can show you how to fit or install sinks, toilets, and baths, and how to work with PVC and operate the common tools of the trade. You can also find helpful guides online that will list and detail these tools, practices, and fittings.
Step 2: Consider Supplemental Education
There are online courses available in plumbing and related subject areas that can help you continue to learn beyond self-study. Courses such as plumbing safety & tools, plumbing systems, rigging and equipment installation, and more can help you gain a more in-depth understanding of the topics relevant to this career field. Although these courses are not required, they can help prepare you for future testing, apprenticeships, and employment.
Step 3: Complete an Apprenticeship
Plumbers typically gain experience hands-on through an apprenticeship. These apprenticeships can last for around five years. During this time, you will need to complete some 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, as well as some classroom education each year. Throughout the course of these apprenticeships, you can expect to learn more about safety and regulations and how to interpret blueprints, plus basic math, chemistry, and physics. You can find an apprenticeship by contacting or researching your local businesses and unions.
Step 4: Prepare for Testing
To become licensed, you will need to pass an exam designed to measure your plumbing knowledge and skills learned throughout your studies and apprenticeship. You will also need to be knowledgeable of local codes and plumbing regulations. Testing requirements will vary from state to state, but there are online resources that can help you prepare. In addition to user-submitted digital flashcard decks, test preparation, and practice tests, there are websites dedicated to providing you with helpful resources for passing your license exam. Sites like these have exam prep organized by state so you can prepare for exactly the sort of questions and testing material that is likely to appear on your actual examination.