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What are the Plumbing Education Requirements?

Plumbing will always be an essential industry, no matter the season or decade. There are about 200,000 available plumbing positions in the US alone, and filling these posts is getting more difficult. It is a lucrative trade, and although not common knowledge, plumbing contractors are among the highest-paid contractors today. It’s not surprising why many are considering a career in the plumbing trade. There are other reasons why people want to try their hands on plumbing. Here are some of the few. 

  • It’s a useful skill for home and office maintenance 
  • The technology involved in plumbing is always evolving. There’s always something new to learn
  • It allows you to interact with your clients and make friends while on the job
  • You can earn while you learn once you become an apprentice
  • It allows for flexibility in work time
  • This trade is rarely affected by global crises
  • You don’t have to call emergency plumbers if you are already one.

However, what are the plumber education requirements? How can you qualify as a plumber? Check out more in this post. 

In a hindsight, this is the career journey and path of everyone who wants to become a plumber. 

Education  High school diploma or GED
Certifications Depending on the state you are located. Most states require plumbers to have a license while others accept certifications. 

Another license is needed if you want to pursue your career further and become a master plumber. 

Training  4-5 years of apprenticeship under a journeyman or master plumber
Core skills Math, Blueprint reading, customer service, decision making skills, use of power tools, physical strength, mechanical skills, manual dexterity, tolerance for laborious work, troubleshooting
Expected salary  Annual salary of $54,000 based on the 2018 median salary but could reach up to six figures 

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Basic plumber education requirements

Like most trades, plumbers need to complete their high school diploma or take the GED test. States require plumbers to be licensed to practice independently. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the majority of plumbers today are trained via an apprenticeship. The program provides trainees with the right knowledge, experience, and training in the field. You can check out available apprenticeships in your area via the local branches of contractor organizations and unions such as the National Association of Plumbing – Heating – Cooling Contractors and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry. The apprentices’ program typically lasts for 4 – 5 years, and this is a combination of both classroom learning and on-the-job training. 

Classroom learning

Plumbing learners need to dock in about 500 – 750 hours of classroom training, and this typically starts with Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety training courses. This may also include first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. The learners study mathematics, basic plumbing, blueprint reading, introduction to pipes, valves, and fittings in the classroom. The topics will then move further into toilets, gas lines, and bathtubs as you progress into intermediate classes. 

Practical learning and on-the-job training

As for the actual apprenticeship or on-the-job training, learners need to complete about 7,500 – 8,000 hours of work while working with journeymen and master plumbers. They’d be training cutting holes in walls and floors, and they are taught how to install piping and fixtures as well. At this stage, apprentices are expected to use soldering irons and power tools. They will also be given a detailed guide on plumbing and building codes, how to deal with clients, and speak with inspectors

Getting the plumber’s license 

Once the classroom and apprenticeship hours are completely rendered, you will now have to take the licensing exam. The majority of the states are required to pass the licensing test before they can become journeymen plumbers. Another test needs to be taken if you want to further pursue your career and become a master plumber. 

Choosing your plumbing school

Your career in plumbing is also dependent on the kind of education and training you’d get. There are several things you need to consider when choosing a plumbing course that’s fit for you. 

The kind of training

Do your research or speak with plumbers you know in your community. Ask them the kind of training that would help you progress in your plumbing career. You also have to think about the apprenticeship later on. See if they offer apprenticeship training or if they let their students look for a training program on their own. 


The cost is always a factor to be considered when choosing a course. You need to know your budget and see if your budget covers your courses. If you already have a financial budget in mind, it’s time for you to see which courses you can afford to take. This is critical because there are courses that you may not want to take or need. Pick the courses that are truly required to get the right knowledge and skills. 

Make a timeline

Not everyone will finish their training and education at the same time. It will do you good if you have a plan of when to finish your courses. 

There is an array of job opportunities for plumbers in the U.S., there are firms – big and small, that take on plumbers regardless of experience. There is also a job available at federal state agencies and other government departments. There are many doors open for you in this trade. There is an increasing demand for a plumber all around. The number of plumbers, however, is dwindling. 

Like other careers, you need skills and mastery to become an expert. Experience plays a huge role in becoming a full-fledged plumber who can be trusted in the community with their plumbing needs. You can start your plumbing career once you graduate high school, or you can get a job and learn the modules in your spare time. One has to go through all the plumber education requirements, experience the work, develop a passion for it, and have the innate desire to help homeowners and businesses with their plumbing problems. All these are a necessary part of the process of becoming a trusted plumber

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