Plumbing Trade School Programs
- National Technical Institute of Phoenix
- Pinellas Technical College
- New England Institute of Technology
- Houston Community College
- Ashworth College
- Eastwick College
- HoHoKus School of Trade & Technical Sciences
- Porter and Chester Institute
- Northwestern Technological Institute
- Pennco Tech
- Stratford Career Institute
Everyday society relies on plumbing to direct the movement of liquids, gases, and waste. Homes and businesses utilize piping to create plumbing systems that bring us drinking and bathing water, as well as remove waste. In factories and power plants, pipeline transport propels steam and chemicals across long distances.
In order to function, these complex systems require maintenance from plumbing professionals. They are specially trained in the management of pipes, tubes, and ducts that move many types of materials.
Benefits of Attending a Public Trade School
The benefits of attending a plumbing school can be vast. A plumbing school can help you advance your career, meet the requirements of your state’s licensing board and prepare you to enter the workforce.
If you are thinking about attending a plumbing school, consider these benefits:
You can choose from several different paths in a plumbing school. Some programs offer certificates, while others focus on associate degrees or even bachelor’s degrees. You can also choose between full-time or part-time programs.
The field of plumbing offers many different career options that range from repair work to management positions. Plumbers may find themselves working for small businesses or large corporations depending on their education level and experience.
While not all states require plumbers to have licenses, most do require some type of formal training before they can work legally in the field. In addition to this requirement, many states require plumbers to get continuing education throughout their careers
It will be easier for you to find work. A lot of skilled laborers are needed in the trades, and a plumber job is one of them. If you get an education, it will make it easier for you to find work because employers know that you have the skills necessary to do the job well.
You will be more knowledgeable and better able to handle any problem that comes up with your clients’ plumbing systems. The more you know about plumbing systems and their parts, the better equipped you will be to fix any problem that might arise with them.
You can earn higher wages as a result of having an education in this field. Plumbers who have completed their education often make more money than those who haven’t because they have more knowledge about how things work and how they should be fixed when there are problems associated with them.
How Long Do Plumbing Training Programs Take?
The length of plumbing training programs varies from school to school and region to region, but most last about three years.
Classroom & Real World Training
You can expect a few months of classroom work followed by several months of on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced plumber.
After completing your training program, you’ll need to pass a state examination to obtain your license as a journeyman plumber.
The exam typically consists of two parts: one written test that covers basic skills and knowledge, and another practical test that requires you to demonstrate your ability in applying those skills while working on actual plumbing projects.
You may also need additional exams if you want to specialize as a master plumber.
What Courses Do You Take
A plumbing trade school usually offers a full range of courses that come with different skills. Here are some of things that you might study:
Heating and cooling systems
Learn how to install systems, fix broken parts and diagnose problems with heating and cooling systems.
Pipes and drains
Learn how to repair leaks in pipes, drains and sewage lines. You’ll also learn how to install new pipes and drains.
Learn how to repair these tanks that provide hot water for your home or business.
Learn how to test water quality, filter water and remove impurities from water sources such as lakes or rivers.
Learn about federal, state and local building codes related to plumbing systems that must be followed during construction projects. You’ll also learn about regulations for waste disposal facilities such as septic tanks.
You can learn about installing or repairing sewer lines — both inside homes or businesses and underground in public areas such as streets and parks.
How Much Does It Cost?
The average cost for a plumbing program is around $1,500 – $2,500 for a one-year certificate program and up to $4,000 for a two-year associate degree program (some schools may offer scholarships).
However, the cost of a plumbing trade school depends on your location, availability of online courses and the program you choose.
If you are looking for an online plumbing course, expect to spend around $800 to $1000 or more. Plumbing schools may offer financial aid or payment plans if you cannot afford the full amount in one lump sum.
Plumbing Program Options
The various plumbing trade schools and education programs can offer you many different ways to enter the field, from certificate programs to apprenticeships.
A certificate program is typically a short-term program that offers training in specific skills. Certificates are usually issued in six months or less, but some can take longer if they require classroom time or other factors that extend the length of the program. Most students complete these programs as part of an associate’s degree program or as standalone programs that prepare them for careers in specific areas of the industry.
Degree programs offer more advanced training than certificate programs but less than apprenticeship programs do. These programs often require two years or more of study while certificate programs usually take one year or less. Students who complete these programs sometimes go on to become licensed plumbers after graduating and completing an apprenticeship program under a licensed tradesperson’s supervision.
Apprenticeships allow students to experience hands-on training while earning an income at the same time. Apprenticeships typically last four years, but some states require five years of training before awarding plumbers’ licenses.
Most apprenticeships are under unions such as:
You can even find other registered apprenticeships through the department of labor.
What Do Plumbers Do?
Plumbers have many responsibilities. They install and repair toilet fixtures, bathtubs, and septic systems. Workers service leaks and clogs, swapping out old parts or fixing things like broken flush levers. At times, laborers also fix appliances like dishwashers, water heaters, or washing machines.
Different types of plumbing projects call for unique building methods and construction materials. Standard home water systems use piping made of steel, copper, and plastic. One or two plumbers are able to install and maintain these less complex systems. However, it takes entire crews of workers to deploy heavy piping, such as those used at power plants and factories.
Pipefitters and plumbers install ducts that move materials for a variety of reasons. Piping moves water through various natural and manmade terrains. The piping is carefully selected to ensure safety of the products being pushed through the tubing. For example, some factories and farms use stainless steel piping to avoid contamination from rust. Plumbers affix pipes and fittings that carry the following:
- Smoke and exhaust
- Waste and sewage
- Semiliquid mixtures
- Natural gas
- Refined gasoline, diesel fuel, and kerosene
- Beer and soda
Routine tasks include replacing parts, repairing leaks, and restoring water flow in sinks or toilets. Plumbers must supply themselves with the correct materials and equipment before heading off to a job site. Associates install fixtures and pipes, while carefully following blueprints and adhering to state and local laws.
Working with Builders
Plumbers draw up plans detailing the location of fixtures and pipes. They must ensure that a building’s plumbing is up to code. Workers also prevent piping from interfering with electrical wiring or other utilities. This type of work can be unpredictable, so staying within budget can be challenging. Therefore plumbers have to manage fiscal and time constraints efficiently.
Associates conduct various tests on pipelines and regulation systems. They run inspections to identify potential points of weakness. At times, workers execute pressure tests to check for leaks and verify pipe connections.
Plumbers install fire sprinkler networks in businesses and factories. They instruct and guide entry-level workers, to complete tasks such as holding piping in place or hauling heavy materials. Staff members also perform the following tasks:
- Prepping cost estimates for customers
- Troubleshooting issues with toilets, urinals, bidets, and water heaters
- Installing and unclogging sinks in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms
- Building pipelines by joining large pieces of tubing
- Replacing old piping and water fixtures
- Swapping out rusted or aging bolts, screws, and piping
Plumbers should be able to solve problems, as they constantly confront puzzles when pinpointing issues.
While accessing a situation, they must find the most efficient way of approaching and fixing the problem. This career presents daily mental challenges and vigorous physical demands.
A plumbing certificate is recommended for these workers, as the job requires a varied knowledge base and the ability to put techniques to practical use. They need experience servicing water, gas, and drainage pipes. This is complex work suitable for skilled laborers.
What's It like in a Plumber's Workspace?
Due to the tight spaces and unpredictable variables, many plumbing work environments could be considered dangerous. Everyday tasks like handling tools and hauling materials can lead to torn muscles or smashed fingers. During installation, piping may need to be maneuvered or held in awkward positions, which might cause soreness and strains.
Plumbing jobs take place anywhere from underground cellars to high up within skyscrapers. Associates may need to descend or climb ladders in order to reach certain work areas. Colleagues must stay aware of their surroundings to avoid hitting their heads or tripping over piping elements.
A typical day can involve traveling to several job sites. Some of these may be outdoors, and weather conditions can get nasty at times. Work locations often include the following:
- Sports arenas
- Military bases
- Government offices
Why Do Plumbers Need Time Management Skills?
Customers expect plumbers to show up promptly and finish their work in a timely manner. While keeping this in mind, associates must be patient. They should refrain from assessing a situation too quickly. Rushing a job can lead to mistakes, so plumbers need to work efficiently while taking their time to double-check details.
As laborers gain experience, they also build confidence. This helps them work faster and increases their value as an employee. The best plumbers rarely second guess themselves, having been through disasters such as slab leaks, burst pipes, and broken main lines.
What Types of Plumbing Equipment Do Workers Use?
Workers use saws to access piping hidden behind walls or underneath floors. They utilize pipe cutters for sizing materials to specific dimensions. While connecting or dismantling tubing, they use plumbing tools such as welding torches, wrenches, and drills.
Before arriving to a job site, staff members make calculations with building information modeling (BIM) software. This lets them work out logistical issues by envisioning pipe placement in a 3D space. Forward-thinking such as this helps things go much smoother during installation.
What Are Useful Skills for People in This Field?
- A knack for customer service when speaking with clients
- Communication skills for bidding on jobs, directing coworkers, and explaining procedures
- Mechanical knowledge for choosing the right tools and performing tasks properly
- Troubleshooting skills for diagnosing problems with water tanks, sinks, toilets, and tubs
- Knowledge of math, chemistry, and physics for working with varied materials
- Physical stamina for enduring rigorous daily tasks
- Dexterity for precision when handling equipment and maneuvering in small areas
- Business sense to charge competitive rates and explain services to clients
What Requirements Must Plumbers Meet To Find Work?
A high school education is usually the minimum requirement to get into the field. Employers prefer those who have taken plumbing classes. Some companies offer promising recruits paid on-the-job training. Universities do not offer plumbing degrees, so many hopefuls train at trade schools or vocational camps.
Whether schooling comes onsite or from a plumbing school, training can last up to five years. This is due to the large volume of knowledge required to become a plumber. Recruits must be familiar with plumbing codes, water distribution methods, and blueprint reading. They need to know proper tool usage along with the differences between piping types and systems.
What Is the Outlook for
There are over 480,000 people employed as plumbers in the United States. Industry growth is at 16 percent, with new jobs projected well into the future. On average, plumbers earn around $50k per year, with the most skilled and in-demand earning annual salaries over $90k. An apprentice’s pay rate improves over time as they take on more responsibility.
One factor driving industry growth is the nation’s increased levels of construction and renovation projects. As the country’s infrastructure gets updated, more and more plumbing work is becoming available. Access to plumbing is a basic need, and provides job security for plumbers across the nation.
Across states, new building codes are requiring the use of indoor fire suppression systems. This is providing job opportunities to the plumbers who install these life-saving fixtures.
Many people in this line of work belong to a union and receive excellent perks. Most associates enjoy the following plumbing benefits:
- Paid, on-the-job plumbing training
- Access to a 401(k) retirement plan
- Paid time off for vacation and sick days
- Life insurance
- Medical insurance
- Dental and vision coverage
- Employee assistance programs for counseling services
- Maternity and paternity leave
- Company car and mobile phone
- Assistance with ongoing plumbing education
What Should Workers Expect?
Most plumbing jobs provide steady, full-time employment. At job sites, associates may remain unsupervised for long periods. In order to finish assignments on time, they must remain self-motivated while working alone.
If doing residential work, plumbers must be available at the customer’s convenience, including evenings and weekends. They often remain on-call for emergencies even when they’re not on the clock.
Where Can Prospects Find Work?
Professionals with plumbing resumes can find work anywhere there are piping or septic systems. They often gain employment through the following industries and sectors:
- Plumbing or HVAC contractors
- Construction companies
- Power plants
- Commercial properties
- Waste disposal plants
- Water treatment centers
What Are Alternate Plumbing Careers?
Plumbers can get into pipefitting, which focuses on the joining of pipes at a variety of worksites. Associates can also learn specialties to become sprinkler fitters or gas fitters, maintaining industry specific lines.
Steamfitters are workers who set up pipe systems that move pressurized steam. They often find jobs at power plants, supervising operations while turbines generate electricity through the flow of steam.
What Other Career Paths Do Plumbers Have?
Boilermakers work with large containers called boilers that hold various gases or liquids. Common job sites include factories, commercial buildings, merchant ships, and naval craft. Their principal task is to maintain and restore function to boilers, which are giant vats that heat liquids or gases in order to generate electricity. Yearly salaries can exceed $60k, and high school graduates enter the workforce quickly with on-the-job training.
The Bottom Line
Plumbing can be a very rewarding career, but it can also be very difficult to break into without the proper training. This is why trade schools are so important. They provide those looking to get into this field with the experience and education they need to make them a viable candidate for employment in this growing industry. It may not be an easy ride, but the rewards of being a professional plumber more than compensate for it.