If you are great with your hands, this step by step road map will help you get a plumbing career. This includes research, courses to take, getting an apprenticeship, getting a license, and moving ahead with your plumbing career.
Fitting bathrooms and kitchens, planning and measuring to provide cost and time estimates is one part of the job. Handling emergency call-outs for blocked drains and boiler breakdowns is another. In between, you are fitting washing machines and showers and installing air conditioning units.
Knowing how to do these tasks requires a lot of knowledge, skill and practice. You must learn how to read and follow technical plans and drawings, solve problems, improve plumbing skills plus time and stress management to finish projects with strict deadlines. That’s not all. You also need good customer service skills by being understanding and friendly. One irate customer is all you need to destroy your plumbing reputation.
Emergency repairs means you will probably need to work nights, weekends and public holidays. Not all the time of course, but if you have a 9-5 mentality, you won’t get far.
The best time to enroll in a plumbing technical course is right after graduating from high school. Each state has their own set of rules and requirements before you can you are entitled to get a license. Check with any of your local professional plumbing associations, unions, trade institutions, or local community colleges to find out your state’s requirements.
Courses cover local plumbing codes, soldering and pipe cutting, venting and draining, water heating systems, and electrical basics. Programs like certificate IV in plumbing are good programs to study.
While you are completing your plumbing course you must also work under an experienced, licensed plumber for a minimum number of hours per week. Apprenticeships vary but most of them are between two to five years.
Practicing regular, practical plumbing work through an apprenticeship is very helpful. Having someone guide you improves your skills and helps you resolve practical and technical issues. Finding an apprenticeship is often done with the assistance of the trade school or the technical training program you are undertaking.
To operate as a professional licensed plumber you can register your license only after completing and passing your plumbing course and apprenticeship program. That means apart from sitting and passing various tests, you are required to complete a minimum number of plumbing hours as an apprentice. Only then can you become a licensed plumber.
When you begin your career as a plumber, your goal is to become a master plumber, a highly qualified and highly experienced crafts person.
With the basics under your belt, you can advance to a plumbing technician, incorporated plumbing engineer, or chartered plumbing engineer. These paths offer you career options that include estimating and contract management and building services engineering.
You might like to get certificates in Oil Firing Technical Association or Gas Safe Register, allowing you to operate on oil and gas-fired appliances.
Additional training will help you work in fields like renewable energy, air conditioning, ventilation, and heating technologies. This can also be the foundation to start your own business and employ other tradesmen and tradeswomen.