What is a Plumber Apprentice?
A plumber apprentice is someone who is learning the trade of plumbing. Being a plumber apprentice is a unique opportunity that combines on-the-job training with time in school. An apprentice develops skills as a plumber, which will eventually qualify him or her to become a fully-paid, professional plumber.
If you choose to begin your career in plumbing as an apprentice, you will either work in an apprenticeship program of a plumbers union or in a non-union program.
Local Plumbers Union Apprenticeships
The most common way to enter an apprenticeship program is through a plumbers union. Unions have in-house programs for apprenticeships and will most likely pair you with a licensed journeyman or master plumber. Entering the industry in this way will require little effort since you do not have to find a plumber that is willing to take on an apprentice.
Apprenticeships through a plumbers union offer an in-house classroom component as well. A major benefit to this is that apprentices don’t have to travel to a different location, like a community college, to complete their required coursework.
Your apprenticeship program or union will have a specific list of requirements you will have to meet. Although it is not a complete and all-inclusive list, the most common requirements you’ll have to meet prior to, and after applying for admission into a local plumbers union apprenticeship include:
- 18 Years of Age (some programs start earlier)
- High School Graduate or GED Equivalent Certification
- Valid Driver’s License
- Social Security Card
- Provide Reliable Transportation
- Take an Aptitude Test
- Physically Able To Perform Daily Plumbing Tasks
- Take and Pass a Drug Test
- Personal Interview
Apprenticeship with a Licensed Plumber
With this option, you personally take on the task of finding a plumbing company that is willing to take you on as an apprentice. Although not as common as going through a union, this method may give you a better opportunity of being placed in an apprenticeship for that same reason.
By taking this route, perseverance (and some legwork) is important. Make many copies of your resume and visit all the plumbing companies in your area to hand to them. They may not be hiring an apprentice, but you can still tell them to keep your resume on file, as they may be hiring soon.
Once the apprentice time period is completed and you meet the experience and education, you can advance to the next professional level.