Most individuals learn the plumbing trade through on-the-job training. However, out of the 170 institutions of higher learning in New Jersey, there are two schools offering plumbing courses and apprenticeship programs: Bergen County Technical School and Ocean County Vocational-Technical School. It will take seven months to complete Bergen County's program, while the latter school's plumbing program is two years long. Overviews of both schools' plumbing programs are offered below; a comparison table contrasting degree offerings and tuition info between the two schools is also provided.
Bergen County Technical School
Bergen County Technical School is a public institution that offers adult and continuing education programs to working individuals in Hackensack. The school provides education and training to more than 100 students each year. Options for studying plumbing at the school include courses and an apprenticeship program. The plumbing courses are designed to provide individuals with a broad understanding of the trade. Courses cover the basic tools and skills related to the plumbing industry, with hands-on work emphasized. Applicants are expected to be high school graduates with basic reading and writing, computer and business math skills. The school also offers customized employee training courses in plumbing for companies and businesses.
Bergen County Technical School also offers a plumbing apprenticeship for aspiring plumbers. The apprenticeship programs at the school allow students to learn a skill through on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 classroom hours per year. Most individuals enrolled in an apprenticeship program must be sponsored by an employer, and apprentices are paid about half the salary of a working plumber. The apprenticeship program also prepares individuals to receive state licensure in plumbing. Apprentices study safety procedures, pipe sizes and materials, plumbing hand tools and installation techniques.
Ocean County Vocational Technical School
Ocean County Vocational Technical School offers a construction trades program in mechanical services technology, in which students learn the basics of plumbing fixtures and equipment, blueprint reading and sketching, plumbing code and workplace safety. Completion of this 2-year program counts toward 1 year of the school's adult education plumbing apprenticeship program. Many students who enroll in the plumbing program work as apprentices until they gain more experience, but others have also gone on to careers in pipefitting, pipelaying and steamfitting.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Plumbing Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-16)|
|Bergen County Technical School||2-year, public; suburb||Plumbing Apprenticeship Program||$8,190 (plumbing students)*|
|Ocean County Vocational Technical School||2-year, public; suburb||Construction Trades Course of Study||$6,550 (construction trade students)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator