A plumber specializes in water, gas and waste systems that service residential homes, businesses, and factories.
Their role includes installing a range of systems to new constructions, repairing existing water and waste works, and replacing systems when they break down.
When you become a plumber, you can look forward to working in a growing industry with plenty of opportunity.
Working as a plumber can be strenuous work.
Often you will need to do your job in very hot, cold, or cramped conditions.
Dealing with waste systems can also be unpleasant.
Many young people begin their career in plumbing, then later go on to run their own businesses or become site managers.
Plumbers receive a higher salary than many other building trades.
Education Requirements to Become a Plumber
There are two pathways to become a plumber that you can choose from.
The first is to attend vocational school and complete a two-year course in plumbing.
After you finish the course you will be required to complete two years of practical work experience before you can attain a license to practice in most states.
The alternative is a four-year apprenticeship with a licensed plumber.
You will need to complete about 2000 hours of on the job training, and a further 216 hours of classroom work.
There are far less apprenticeships positions out there than there are people applying for these positions.
For this reason, the majority of people go to vocational school to become a plumber.
Each state will have different licensing rules, but you will likely need to sit for an exam.
You will also need to pay a one-time fee to become licensed.
Another important skill you will need to become a plumber is stamina.
Being in good physical shape is essential, as this work can be challenging and draining physically.
Plumber Job Description
A plumber provides a range of services to install and maintain pipe systems.
These may be pipes that transport water, sewage, or gas.
Plumbers also install appliances that handle water and gas, such as toilets, showers, sinks, taps, and dishwashers to name a few.
You can choose from a few different areas of specialization when you become a plumber.
Some will deal in construction, setting up new systems for homes and offices being built.
Some will provide maintenance and repair to existing systems.
Roof plumbers work to install drains and downpipes on rooftops.
Emergency plumbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Many plumbers are self-employed.
In this case you would also need to promote your business and also keep records and accounts.
Here are some of the regular tasks a plumber may complete:
- Installing new pipe systems
- Repairing and maintaining existing pipe systems
- Installing appliances
- Finding the cause of leaks
- Responding to emergency calls
- Invoicing clients
- Maintaining a record keeping system
Plumber Salary and Career Path
Most plumbers will start their career by completing an apprenticeship.
Those who attend vocational school will still need to attain two years of practical experience to become certified.
Nearly all plumbers will spend the first part of their career working for someone else.
With experience, they may go on to more responsibility within their current role, or to open their own business.
Some plumbers go on to work within other areas of construction such as:
- Construction Manager
- Heating and air-conditioning mechanic
- Stationary Engineer
- Boiler maker
- Construction and building inspector
The median annual wage for a plumber is $40,000 a year.
Those working with natural gas, or within new home construction tend to earn more than those working in other areas.
Most plumbers work on a contract basis and are paid for the amount of hours they work each week.
If you are looking to work within the construction industry, you may like to become a plumber.
This is one of the most highly paid trades, and is also a fast growing sector.
Those entering this career should note that plumbing can be strenuous work and is physically demanding at times.
You can look forward to excellent job prospects in this field however, as well as opportunities to work within other areas of construction.