Plumbing FAQs

What are some skills that successful plumbers have? Successful plumbers usually have solid math and problem-solving skills and a high mechanical aptitude.

What is the level of education required to become a plumber? A high school diploma or GED equivalent is the entry-level education required to be a plumber.

How much do plumbers make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary was $51,830 per year for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters in 2011.

How can plumbers get training? Training for plumbing jobs is available from trade schools, community colleges, and on the job as a plumbing apprentice.

How long is a plumbing apprenticeship? Apprenticeship programs are provided by local unions and their affiliates, as well as by non-union contractors. Apprenticeships typically span four to five years. They involve paid on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours of classroom time per year.

Do you need to have a license to be a plumber? In most states, plumbers must have 2 to 5 years of work experience before they can take an examination and obtain a license.

Can plumbers earn additional certification? While certification is not required, it might help plumbers advance in their profession and take advantage of new job opportunities. For example, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association has teamed with GreenPlumbers USA to train and certify plumbers in water and energy efficiency technologies. The National Inspection Testing Certification (NITC) also offers the Journey Level Plumber certification.

How long does it take to become a master plumber? The requirements for a master’s plumber’s license vary significantly by state. In many states, you can become a master plumber in as little as five years. It might take an additional year or two in some states, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands it can take up to 10 years to become a master plumber.

Do I need to submit an application to become a master plumber? After completing an apprenticeship program and gaining progressive experience, becoming a licensed master plumber requires submitting an application in most jurisdictions and states. Generally, the application requires a fee and allows candidates for a master plumber license to be scheduled to take the appropriate exams.

What is covered in the written plumbing exam needed to obtain a master plumber license? The exam covers plumbing skills, design, safety and local or state building codes related to the design and installation of plumbing systems.

Is plumbing a growing industry? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 26 percent growth for plumbers between 2010 and 2020, which is higher growth than the average of 14 percent expected among all occupations.

What are some personal requirements for plumbers? Plumbers typically enjoy practical work and have good eye-hand coordination. They must also be able to work independently, should cope with physical demands of the job, and have good interpersonal skills and mobility.

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