Let’s face it. We’re not all cut out for the classroom. Have you ever thought about a plumbing career? It allows you to problem solve, work with your hands, and interact with customers. Plumbing is a trade and is not an accredited college course. With that said, you can learn many of the fundamentals of plumbing in vocational schools and community colleges. Some of the courses taught may include plumbing system design, the use of plumbing tools, welding, and the safe use of equipment. Taking some plumbing courses will give you a step up when being hired by a plumbing company. However, many plumbers start as a plumber’s assistant or apprentice to learn the trade. A plumbing career can begin today.
A Plumber Career Is So Much More Than Just Pipes and Drains
Most of us might identify a plumber as someone who comes to your home to unclog your drain. While that might be true in part, realistically a plumber is much more than that. A plumber is a professional trades-person who keeps our plumbing systems running correctly and efficiently. Plumbing includes water and gas coming to our homes, offices, and factories. Additionally, plumbers are the go-to trade for sewer line installation, repair, and sanitation. It is a plumber who’s called for repair or install a septic tank. They’re also in charge of your heating and air conditioning in your home or business. Your plumber can provide services for all areas of home or business.
New Plumbing Technologies
Plumbing is an ever-expanding field, and technological advances can be seen throughout the plumbing trade. For instance, we now have smart pipes that will monitor your pipes and tell you if you have a leak from your smartphone. We have faucets that reply to touch and your voice. Even our water heaters are well advanced, saving up to 30% in energy cost for heaters built just ten years ago. Tankless water heaters are another appliance that’s seen significant advances in technology. You can control fixtures like your showerhead through wifi and your smartphone. These appliances and fixtures require advanced plumbing techniques. In some cases, manufacturers won’t even warranty their product unless installed by a certified plumber. If you want to be a plumber, knowledge is power, so grow with your trade whenever possible.
Apprenticeship Program With The Union
While some young men and women may choose a vocational school, community college, or entry-level employment with a plumbing company, others may prefer an apprenticeship program with the plumber’s union. These apprenticeship programs may last 2 to 3 years. The training may require classes, as well as on-the-job paid training. Some of the basic requirements for signing up with the apprenticeship program are as follows:
- You need to know how to use computers.
- Must have necessary math skills
- Must pass a substance abuse test
- You must have a high school diploma or GED.
- Must be at least 18 years of age
Is Your Goal To Become A Licensed Plumbing Contractor?
If your ultimate goal is to become a California licensed plumbing contractor, the required steps are listed below. First, we need to remember that the contractor’s state licensing board (CSLB) goes to great lengths to protect the public. Being properly licensed is the first step in doing so. An unlicensed plumber carrying out plumbing duties could be severely fined, especially if a job is more than $500. When a plumber becomes licensed by the CSLB, that ensures the public that they are bonded and insured. It also tells the public that they have experience, expertise, and have met all the standards set by CSLB to carry out any plumbing work on their home or business.
If you want to be a candidate for a plumbing license exam, you must:
- Be employed under a foreman, journeyman, or supervisor for a minimum of 4 years
- Have a minimum of 1 year worth of hands-on experience
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a full set of fingerprints submitted
- Undergo a criminal background check
The exam has five sections:
- Job Site and Worker Safety
- Estimating and Planning
- Repair, Service and Remodel Plumbing Systems
- Rough-in Plumbing Systems
- Finish Plumbing Installations
Becoming A Plumbing Contractor Is An Excellent Choice
Knowing what’s required can help you decide if becoming a licensed California plumbing contractor is what you want to do. The CSLB will also provide useful information and study materials for those wishing to take the exam. Another consideration is that the CSLB requires licensed plumbers to renew their license every two years. If becoming a plumbing contractor is in your future, you’ll need to go through the process.