What Does it Take to Become a Plumber?

Plumber Strongsville OH install, connect and repair pipes and fixtures in homes, buildings and other structures. Their work ensures water reaches appliances like sinks, toilets and showers and that waste is taken away properly. They also interpret blueprints and building codes to plan plumbing projects.

They often need to solve complex problems with limited information, so strong problem-solving skills are important. They must also be able to work quickly and efficiently.

Education and Training


The career path to becoming a plumber can be a long one. Many plumbers begin by completing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college before starting an apprenticeship with a master plumber. Apprenticeships typically last five years and include on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction in the fundamentals of plumbing. After gaining several years of experience as an apprentice, the plumber must pass a state exam to become a journeyman plumber. Some states also require additional certifications for plumbers to work within certain areas.

Plumbers must be able to think analytically and solve problems quickly and effectively. They must also be able to read blueprints and understand technical manuals and diagrams. Plumbers are often required to work in tight spaces, so they must have good physical strength and stamina. Additionally, plumbers must be able to lift heavy equipment and tools, and have the ability to work on their feet for long periods of time.

Because plumbing issues rarely occur at convenient times, plumbers must be able to respond quickly and work efficiently under pressure. They must also be able to communicate with clients, and provide accurate estimates for plumbing services.

In addition to the above skills, plumbers must be knowledgeable about local codes and regulations regarding piping systems. Some states, such as New York, have strict rules about where and how plumbers can work. They must be licensed to work in a particular city or county and undergo continuing education to keep their license current.

A plumber who wants to advance in the profession can choose to specialize in a certain area of plumbing or become a manager and oversee other plumbers. Some plumbers decide to open their own businesses after gaining experience in the field. Other plumbers become instructors or tutors to share their knowledge with others.

Choosing the right career path is an important decision for any future professional. If you’re interested in becoming a plumber, start by taking our career test to find out if this is the right field for you. Then, explore the different routes to a career as a plumber to learn more about how to get started in this rewarding industry.

Licensing Requirements

Obtaining the proper licensing is crucial for plumbers. Each state and city has their own regulations, and it is important to know the requirements in your area before starting work. For example, New York requires that plumbers take a written and practical exam to be licensed. The written exam is based on the 2020 New York Plumbing Code. A score of seventy percent or higher is required to pass the exam.

Generally, a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum educational requirement to become a plumber. However, some people choose to attend a vocational or technical school to get the training they need. These programs can vary in length but typically last four or five years and allow students to earn a salary while they learn. Courses can include local plumbing codes and regulations, blueprint reading, and safety practices.

Some people also pursue a formal apprenticeship as a way to get the hands-on training they need to be successful in this career. These programs can be found through the state or through trade organizations or unions. They typically last for several years and offer the opportunity to work under a master plumber while earning an hourly wage.

To become a licensed plumber in New York, you must have at least two years of experience working in the installation, maintenance, or repair of plumbing systems. You can substitute directly related academic or technical training for up to one-half of this experience. You must also pass a technical exam and a business and law exam.

Plumbers must also have a valid driver’s license to travel between jobs. They often need to drive to various locations, including home sites and construction sites. They may also need to go to water supply and drainage distribution systems to inspect and repair pipes. This can involve working with dangerous materials such as sewage and human waste, which contain microbes that can cause infections like cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. Because of this, it is vital for plumbers to practice safe and sanitary methods at all times.

On-the-Job Training

Aspiring plumbers need to possess a variety of technical abilities. In addition to the basic skills required for working with hands and tools, they should be comfortable problem-solving on the fly and interpreting blueprints and sketches. They also need to have a strong work ethic and be willing to learn new skills as the profession demands it.

One of the most common routes to becoming a plumber is through an apprenticeship program. These programs typically last 4 to 5 years and combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Applicants can find apprenticeship opportunities through local plumbing companies, trade unions, or vocational schools. Some states require apprentices to attend classes or take certification exams, while others do not. Regardless of state requirements, an apprenticeship is an excellent way to gain experience and earn valuable job skills.

Once a plumber gains enough experience, they can apply for a plumbing license in their state. The qualifications for a plumbing license vary by state, but often include passing an exam covering topics like plumbing codes and regulations, plumbing system design, and pipes and fixtures. To prepare for the exam, students can enroll in a plumbing certification course or study from textbooks and guides. In many cases, a successful certification exam can boost a career as a plumber.

Plumbers may choose to specialize in a specific type of plumbing project. Residential plumbers install and repair toilets, sinks, showers, and other household fixtures and appliances. Commercial plumbers handle larger-scale plumbing projects in office buildings, hospitals, and shopping centers. Pipefitters specialize in high-pressure piping systems such as those used for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Plumbers may also choose to pursue supervisory or management roles. Construction supervisors oversee plumbing projects and ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to complete a project.

A plumber’s resume should highlight their education, training, and job experience. A well-written resume can help a candidate stand out from other applicants and increase their chances of finding a job. Candidates can also improve their chances of landing a job by developing a professional online presence and joining industry organizations.

Job Duties

Depending on their specialty, plumbers can install, repair, or maintain a wide range of plumbing fixtures and systems. These include pipes, valves, faucets, toilets, water heaters, and appliances. They may also be responsible for identifying and fixing issues with plumbing, such as leaks or clogs. During new construction projects, plumbers work from blueprints and building plans to layout and execute plumbing infrastructure. They may also collaborate with architects and other professionals to ensure plumbing systems integrate seamlessly into overall building projects.

Plumbers are often hired to perform emergency repairs on residential and commercial properties. This can involve responding to calls at any time of the day or night, and working in a variety of weather conditions. Because of this, it is important for plumbers to have excellent customer service skills. They must be able to provide customers with accurate time frames and pricing for their services. Plumbers must also be able to diagnose and troubleshoot problems quickly in order to make effective repairs.

Plumbing technicians usually perform their job duties using hand and power tools. These tools can be dangerous if not used properly. It is therefore important for plumbing technicians to follow all proper safety procedures when performing their duties. This includes wearing protective equipment, following all appropriate safety guidelines, and ensuring that all tools are in good condition before using them.

Additional responsibilities of plumbers can include repairing backflow devices, removing and installing water meters and related fixtures, locating underground piping, and constructing, assembling, or rebuilding heating, steam, or gas piping. They can also be responsible for repairing or replacing fire protection systems and sewer system components. They may also be responsible for establishing or maintaining plumbing codes and standards, completing inspections, and collaborating with other construction and maintenance teams.

Plumbers must be able to read and interpret blueprints, engineering drawings, schematics, and other technical documents. They must also be able to effectively communicate with customers and other contractors. Other desirable qualities include strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work safely in confined spaces.