What Do Plumbing Apprentices Do?
As an apprentice, you will work with journeyman plumbers, depending on the specific laws of your state. The journeyman teaches you the local building codes, how to use plumbing tools and equipment and how to install, maintain and repair plumbing fixtures.
Before becoming a master plumber, you must become an apprentice and then a journeyman. Typically, you complete the plumbing apprenticeship under a union plumber or attend a vocational school to master plumbing system basics. Many colleges offer apprenticeship training through an associate degree or certificate program.
You start by learning to read and create plumbing blueprints. You also learn local building codes, workplace safety concepts and best practices, and some math and science — geometry, chemistry, and physics — as they apply to plumbing systems.
Search for “plumbing apprenticeships near me” to find out what in-class learning and hands-on training you can expect from local programs. In general, you can expect material covering the types of pipes, tools and equipment used by plumbers. You also learn how to install, maintain and repair plumbing systems.
After completing your degree, you practice under a journeyman for on-the-job training.
Apprentice Plumber Educational Requirements
Here are the steps needed to complete a plumbing apprenticeship and become a licensed plumber.
- First, obtain your high school diploma or GED. As a plumber, you need a strong foundation in math (algebra and geometry), computers (computer-aided drafting) and science (physics). If possible, take classes in blueprint reading and drafting.
- Get your vocational training. You can receive plumbing training at a vocational school, community or technical college. The certificate earned credits your knowledge of water supply, drainage systems and piping equipment. Find trade schools in your area here.
- Complete an apprenticeship program. For the most comprehensive learning experience, join an apprenticeship program, which takes 4 or 5 years to complete as you get paid to learn all aspects of plumbing.
- Get licensed. Most states require a plumbing license. In order to obtain your license, you need to pass an exam. Generally, you need 2-5 years of experience and knowledge of local codes to sit for the licensing exam. To learn about licensing requirements in your state, click here.
What Is an Apprentice Plumber Salary?
According to salary.com, plumbing apprenticeships pay an average of $35,872, with a range of $29,000 to $41,000. Factors influencing your salary include education, certifications and years of experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for plumbing positions is excellent, with an expected increase in demand of 14% through 2028.