Discover what's involved in a plumbing apprenticeship
Today, it takes formal training and certification to get plumbing jobs. While it was once possible to do an informal plumbing apprenticeship and learn the trade by doing it, plumbing school is now a must for anyone wishing to work in this field.
You can take plumbing courses both in a traditional classroom or online, but to become a certified plumber, you will also have to complete an apprenticeship. Your apprenticeship consists of on-the-job plumbing training and must be completed under the supervision of an experienced and licensed professional.
Attend Plumbing School
Your plumbing course will teach you the essential skills you need to succeed as a home or commercial plumber. As with electrician school, your first step will be to choose whether you'd prefer to work in a residential or industrial setting, as your training requirements will differ.
Regardless of your choice of specializations, the material covered in your plumbing courses will include fundamental, intermediate and advanced topics. Expect to learn all about piping, plumbing troubleshooting, installing and assembling pipe-powered systems, water heater and plumbing maintenance, and reading blueprints.
Complete a Plumbing Apprenticeship
You will need to put in thousands of hours of training before you qualify to write the examination that will lead to professional plumbing certification. While in-class studies comprise part of those time requirements, the majority of your training hours will be earned through an on-the-job apprenticeship.
During your apprenticeship, you will work hands-on with a trained and certified plumber, who will help you learn to apply classroom theory to real-world situations. Depending on where you live, you may be able to start your apprenticeship while you're still in plumbing school, or you may have to complete the in-class portion of your training before you qualify for on-the-job instruction. Local educational institutions can help guide your training planning.
Your apprentice supervisor will log your hours, and once you have completed the hours you need, you will be able to write a certification examination. If you pass your exam, you will be able to seek employment without restriction and qualify for unionized rates of pay.