How To Become A Plumber
Career Video: Plumber
If you are interested in work that entails installing and repairing water, drainage and gas pipes, you could become a plumber. In this profession, you’ll have the opportunity to put up lines supplying water to homes and buildings. You’ll be given the responsibility to install bathtubs, toilets, showers and other plumbing fixtures. You’ll also be called upon to repair leaky pipes and other plumbing issues.
Aside from possessing mechanical knowledge and skill on assembling and repairing pipe systems, you must possess physical strength and stamina since the work involves lifting heavy pipes. If you are going to run your own plumbing business, you will need to possess business savvy as well.
Why Become A Plumber
There are a variety of reasons why you may want to become a plumber. One of these is sheer love for the work. A sense of satisfaction can be felt when you are able to successfully set up water pipes for homes and establishments, knowing that you’ll be providing people with one of their most essential needs. It is also gratifying to be able to help people address their plumbing issues, no matter how simple or complicated these are. If you are truly dedicated to this profession, it can also pave the way for you to start your own company.
Plumber Work Environment
Plumbers, together with pipe-fitters and steamfitters, work in companies in the plumbing, heating and air-conditioning industries. A minority are self-employed. They work in homes, factories or practically in all places where pipes and septic systems are going to be installed. Due to the nature of their work, traveling to these sites is a regular part of the job. Carrying heavy materials and working in cramped areas are common. A downside to the profession is the higher rate of injuries involved because of the soldering equipment and sharp tools used. Falls are also frequent among plumbers since they often climb ladders to perform their job. Plumbers usually work fulltime but overtime and weekend work is common. They may also need to be on-call in the event of emergencies.
Data from the Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in May 2013, plumbers, pipe-fitters and steamfitters received a mean annual wage of $53,820 or a median wage of $24.13 per hour. Apprentices usually receive anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent of the rate that seasoned plumbers get, with their pay increasing with experience.
Plumber Career Outlook
The employment rate of plumbers, pipe-fitters and steamfitters is expected to rise 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than the average growth rate of for all jobs. The demand is fueled by the boom in building construction and the more stringent standards for water efficiency. The changes in the International Residential Code requiring new homes, whether they are single or double family, to have fire sprinkler systems, will also contribute to the demand of sprinkler-fitters and plumbers in some states.
The minimum educational requirement to become a plumber is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, taking up courses on pipe system design, safety and tool use and welding in a technical school will also be an advantage. Aspiring plumbers first start out as apprentices in an apprenticeship program that lasts anywhere from four to five years. They will need to complete a paid-on-the-job training of anywhere from 1,700 to 2,000 hours and comply with a technical education requirement of 246 hours. After finishing the apprenticeship program, they are then called journey workers and can do jobs on their own. It will take more courses and more years of experience before they can become a master plumber and become eligible to get a plumbing license which is required in most states and jurisdictions.