New York City Plumbing Certification Training Program Overviews

Dec 17, 2018

There are a handful of schools in New York City that offer plumbing certification programs. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info at three schools within 30 miles of downtown, and find out which school is the right one for you.

Plumbing Certification Programs in New York City

In general, journeyman plumbers need to be registered, and master plumbers need to be licensed by New York City to be employed. These require different levels of education, training and experience. Different schools in New York City give students the opportunity to study as journeyman plumbers and master plumbers.

This article looks at three institutions that offer plumbing training, all within 45 minutes of downtown, and the programs they offer. Statistics that prospective students should know, such as enrollment, school type and costs, are presented in a table. At the end of the article are the names of several other New York City-area schools that offer plumbing training programs.

  • Students can earn a plumbing certificate through the Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Nassau BOCES), which is about 28 miles from the heart of the city.
  • Just five miles from downtown, SUNY Empire State College offers an associate's degree program in conjunction with an apprenticeship program offered by an area plumbers union.
  • CUNY Bronx Community College does not offer a degree program, but students can take part in a plumbing immersion program. This school is 13 miles from the city center.

Comparison of Schools

The following table contains information about these institutions that can help a prospective student decide which is their best option.

Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services SUNY Empire State College CUNY Bronx Community College
School Type Adult Education Center** 4-year; public* 2-year; public*
Total Enrollment (2017)* N/A 10,977 10,935
Campus Setting Small town Small suburb Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* N/A $7,185 in-state; $16,835 out-of-state $5,206 in-state; $8,086 out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* N/A 91% 89%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* N/A - Open admissions policy** N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions
Retention Rate (2017)* N/A 52% for full time students; 62% for part-time students 59% for full time students; 40% for part-time students
Graduation Rate* N/A 14% (28% transfer-out rate) (2011) 16% (13% transfer rate) (2014)

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Nassau BOCES

Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services

While not a traditional college or university, the Nassau BOCES offers classes and programs through its Adult Evening Program. Several vocational programs are offered, including solar water heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, trade electricity and, of course, plumbing.

Plumbing Program

NASSAU BOCES' plumbing program is good for anyone grade 11 and up. Students can earn up to 4 CTE credits during the course. The introductory plumbing course trains students in fitting pipes and understanding the organization of venting, drainage and waste systems over the course of 18 class sessions. The second plumbing course is a little more advanced, training students water heater repair, drainage system maintenance, pipe installation and New York City plumbing codes over 18 class sessions. It should be noted that both of these classes require students to bring some of their own tools.

SUNY Empire State College

The apprentice training program through United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters gives students the opportunity to receive direct training from experienced plumbers. Students receive training through a special center located in Long Island City. The training center is part of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies of Empire State College. The apprentice training program is approved by the New York State Department of Education and follows guidelines set by the U.A. Training Department. A partnership with Empire State College allows students to go through the apprentice training program while earning an associate degree.

Associate in Science in Labor Studies

In total, students earn 64 credits for this associate degree. The training is meant to be hands-on so that students can gain professional experience as they prepare for careers as plumbers. As part of the associate degree program, students take classes in writing, literature, United States history and literature. Students who complete this degree program can seek employment as a plumber, continue for a bachelor's degree or transfer to a university to earn a 4-year degree.

CUNY Bronx Community College

Plumbing courses are offered through the college's Continuing and Professional Studies program, which allows students to enroll in career-technical classes that train them for future vocational careers. All of the classes are hands-on, giving students the opportunity to access tools and equipment that they would use on the job. Students must have a high school diploma before enrolling in the Continuing and Professional Studies program. Students are trained by professionals who have first-hand experience in the field as plumbers, electricians and carpenters.


The plumbing immersion program lasts 124 hours. Classes are offered twice a week in the evenings. Within the program, students take classes in shop safety, construction math, management and plumbing. All of the classes are guided by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). By the end of the program, students can qualify for employment as a plumber.

Other Schools in the Area

An option is LaGuardia Community College, located about 7 miles from the city, and offers a plumbing training program. Finally, the New York City College of Technology offers an architectural technology bachelor's degree program and a specialized bachelor's degree program in facilities management that both include courses on plumbing and plumbing design. These programs can be ideal for someone wishing to pursue master plumber licensure.

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