Your Guide to Becoming a Professional Plumber

A plumber is a professional who is responsible for installing, repairing, as well as testing both pipes and homes in residential as well as commercial properties. While you don’t need to have a degree in plumbing to become a plumber, you do need to have your high school diploma before you can apply.

Becoming a plumber is becoming an increasingly competitive space, owing to the great demand outlook for plumbers. Irrespective of the state of the economy or how the market is faring, people will always need plumbers. So, how can you become a plumber?

Becoming a plumber: Five steps to success

The exact requirements that you need to become a plumber tend to vary from state to state. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your local governing body to ask them about specific requirements regarding becoming a plumber.

Generally, you’ll need to complete coursework and work as an apprentice to do fieldwork as well. Getting an apprenticeship can be highly competitive, but there are ways that you can make yourself stand out. You can check only trade schools to find the best trade schools in your city to learn the trade. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for a plumber in 2020 was $56,530. If you think you want to be a plumber, then here is everything you should consider doing:

1. Get your high school diploma

You’ll either need a high school diploma or a GED to meet the minimum qualifications you need before becoming a plumber. Having strong math skills is essential for plumbers, as is a strong foundation in science, as well as computers. You need to be able to understand algebra, geometry, thermodynamics, and more, in order to work successfully as a plumber.

During this stage, you can also consider doing some courses that are related to becoming a plumber, such as blueprint reading. This can enable you to gain an advantage against your competition when applying for apprenticeships. Remember that your math scores from high school, specifically your ACT score, could play a role in helping you land an apprenticeship.

2. Vocational plumbing courses

Before you can become licensed as a plumber, you’ll need to complete coursework and do fieldwork as well. This coursework can be found at a community college or training school that’s been accredited to train plumbers. While you don’t need to join a school to become a plumber, there are certain benefits you should consider as well:

  • Gain a competitive advantage when it comes to being selected for plumbing apprenticeships
  • Schools can help you find or match you with a master plumber, plumbing company, or union
  • Learn key skills needed to become a plumber

3. Apply for a plumbing apprenticeship

There are several ways you can become a plumber. You can either choose to get specialized training from a college, or you can directly choose to apply for apprenticeships. Although these are competitive, once you secure an apprenticeship, you can greatly benefit. This is as you’ll be earning during the time you work as an apprentice.

Initially, you’ll be earning 45% of the regulated minimum wage. After the first year, this will increase to 50%, then 60% the next year, and so on. Plumbing apprenticeships generally last for four to five years and must be presided on by a licensed plumber. Sometimes, the master plumber you’re an apprentice for can also pay for the coursework you need to complete before you can sit for the licensing exam.

You’ll also need to work for a certain number of hours before you can sit for your licensing exam. The exact number of hours can vary from state to state, so it’s always a good idea to get in touch with them to confirm. You can find apprenticeships through your local plumbing union by directly approaching plumbing companies or master plumbers.

When you sign up for an apprenticeship, you may need to take an aptitude test. This is where you need to show that you have the foundational skills required to become a plumber.

4. Sit for your licensing exam

After you’ve met the minimum number of hours you need to work as an apprentice before you can take the exam, it’s time to get licensed. You’ll need to register yourself to take the exam. It’s a good idea to review your material regularly and take practice tests as well to ensure that you know what to expect during your exam.

Once you pass your exam, you’ll be a licensed plumber. Also known as a journeyman plumber, your can now start working independently as a plumber. Remember that you may need to renew your license from time to time as well. Some states require you to renew your license yearly, while others provide for a longer time interval before you need to renew your license.

As a journeyman plumber, you’ll be able to handle your own cases and clients. However, there is a further certification you can also consider opting for.

5. Becoming a master plumber

You can consider continuing your education and doing fieldwork with the intention of becoming a master plumber. To become a master plumber, you’ll need to work as a journeyman plumber for two to five years, depending on the state you live in.

Aside from becoming a master plumber, you can also think about doing additional courses relevant to your field that can help you to stand out in the market. Areas like energy efficiency, and even inspection testing, can help you gain a competitive advantage in your career.

Once you become a master plumber, you’ll be able to take on apprentices as well. It’s always a good idea to check your local regulations to ensure that you’re meeting all the criteria needed to work as a master plumber in your state.


Becoming a plumber can be a very lucrative career path for you. All you need is your high school diploma or GED and the drive to make it as a plumber. You can either approach a technical school or community college to do your course work in plumbing or apply for an apprenticeship directly.

Getting an apprenticeship can be hard, as a lot of people are usually applying for a limited number of seats. That’s why having relevant coursework done, or doing courses in specialized areas, can help you gain a competitive advantage. You can also look for apprenticeships through your local plumbing union, which can also help you with the coursework you need to do to get your license.

Once you’re licensed as a plumber, you can apply for another license to become a master plumber. If you want to work as a plumber, you may need to consider insurance for plumbers. With the help of plumbing insurance, you can find financial coverage in the event a disgruntled client sues you or you face other legal proceedings. Insurance for commercial plumbers, such as general liability insurance for plumbers, can help you protect your plumbing business, as well as your finances.

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