Blog Home

Becoming a Plumber: The Common Questions New Plumbers Ask

Becoming a Plumber: The Common Questions New Plumbers Ask

Posted by Matt Krak

August 06, 2021

Common questions about becoming a licensed plumber

After completing your GED and receiving a high school diploma, students often have questions about where to go with their career path. For many young adults, a four year college degree may seem like the safest way to become successful. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, training programs available through community colleges or trade schools can offer less debt, work experience, and even a higher average salary.

For new students looking to become professional plumbers, the plumbing trade in particular can offer some surprising opportunities. In this article, we'll provide answers to some of the common questions like where plumbers find job training, what benefits are there to having a plumbing license, how to jumpstart your plumbing career, and more. 

1. How much money can I make in a plumbing apprenticeship?

One of the benefits of entering the skilled trades is that you're often paid to learn. Apprenticeships give aspiring plumbers the chance to work for real plumbing businesses and earn the required number of hours in the field for graduation. Plumbing apprentices have an average salary of $18/hour according to ZipRecruiter; a great deal when you consider it's part of your education requirements. Now, this does differ based on a few factors such as the size of the company, where you're applying, and simply what the company may choose to pay its apprentices.

You can find companies in your area to connect with and see if they're hiring apprentices, or your many technical school programs will have an apprenticeship program that you can apply for. Through your plumbing apprenticeship, you'll gain the years of experience necessary to become a licensed plumber, and valuable work experience to put on your resume. Plus, you may even land a job at the company you're an apprentice at.

2. How much can I make as a licensed plumber?

After completing your local plumbing program and passing the licensing exam (be sure to know your licensing requirements), licensed plumbers will be happy to know that they'll receive an average salary of around $61,000 annually. This job will require you to keep up to date with specific plumbing codes, but overall your plumber's license will pay for itself.

Your company may also offer incentives for earning further licenses, which you should explore to help increase your salary in the future. Furthering your knowledge in plumbing will be the best way to earn a better position and better pay in your career.

3. Do I need my own tools as an apprentice / licensed plumber?

As an apprentice or journeyman plumber, you'll need to have your own toolkit ready for the classroom and work. Your plumbing instructor should provide you with a list of the tools you'll need to complete your program and succeed on a job site, but if not see Housecall Pro's Plumber Tool List to decide on what you may need.

A complete toolkit may cost a couple thousand dollars when finished, so be sure to take that into account when deciding how much to pay for trade school.

4. Is plumbing a dangerous trade?

The plumbing industry, just like any other manual labor career, does have risks. Injuries may happen occur when plumbers work in confined spaces, using power tools, or by the conditions in their area. Common plumbing-related units such as boilers, sewers, pipes, storage tanks, pits, and ducts can all present health hazards when approached improperly. 

Additionally, licensed plumbers sometimes operate heavy-duty equipment that can create serious injuries, such as burns, abrasions, cuts, and other injuries. However, with the proper training and thoughtful preparation you can help yourself avoid these potential setbacks.

This job definitely isn't for the faint of heart, but you will be equipped to succeed by taking the right steps to learning the skills.

5. What skills are important for plumbing jobs?

A quality plumber will need to be willing to work physically. Plumbing services tend to work with pipes, usually in tight, confined spaces. Plumbers need to be strong to hold up pipework, appliances, or toilets, while also maintaining the ability to hold pipe fittings steady

Having good control of your hands so that you can manipulate small objects is a major plus. You'll also need to have good vision to thread fittings and read small gauges, especially in crawlspaces that may not have good lighting.

The average Plumber will also need blueprint reading skills, so that they can understand the plumbing systems they're working on well.

6. Where can I find a local training program or technical school for plumbing?

If you're interested in one day becoming a plumbing technician, master plumber, or owning your own business, start your journey by finding an accredited trade school through a U.S. trade school database.