Plumbers may get short shrift when it comes to TV but the less-than-intelligent stereotype is simply not true. A plumber has to go through a rigorous training program in order to be licensed. While individual state laws vary, what in general does a plumber have to do to become a master plumber?
Before you become a plumber, you will have to determine whether you have some inherent abilities and aptitudes that make becoming a plumber easier. These abilities and aptitudes include:
• A general aptitude for math
• Manual dexterity
• A tolerance for being in cramped areas
• A mechanical aptitude
• An ability to solve problems
• An ability to work with people
The first step to becoming a master plumber is to become an apprentice plumber. Apprentice plumbers are required to be seventeen or eighteen years of age, depending on the state. Most states also require a high school diploma or equivalent.
One way to become an apprentice plumber is to join your local union and apply to the union’s plumber apprentice program. This program will include complete on-the-job plumbing training and plumbing courses.
Since it can be difficult to enter a union-sponsored plumber apprentice program, you might also investigate local vocational or trade schools to get your training. When looking at trade or vocational schools make sure that the school:
• Offers a comprehensive program covering all aspects of plumbing
• Offers on the job training
• Has a good success rate of graduates getting plumbing positions
• Is accredited
Plumbing courses in trade or vocational schools include classes in:
• Local plumbing codes
• Reading blueprints
Another option for apprenticeship is to look for smaller plumbing companies or contractors that offer apprenticeship programs. While you may not get a lot of pay, you’ll get plenty of experience. You will have to fill in any gaps in your knowledge before taking the test to become a licensed journeyman plumber, the second step to becoming a master plumber.
It generally takes four to five years to complete an apprentice plumber program. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, you’ll take a trade test if you are in a union apprenticeship program and a test regulated by your state. Pass those tests and you’ll become a licensed journeyman plumber.
In order to become a master plumber, you may have to have from four to five years of experience as a journeyman plumber. In addition, you will have to take a test. This test might cover:
• Federal plumbing codes
• Local or state plumbing codes
• Installing plumbing systems
• Maintenance of plumbing systems
• Repairing plumbing systems
• Managing plumbing projects
Each state has different requirements and testing, so make sure that you work with your local licensing agency to find out specifically what you will need to do to get your master plumber’s license.