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The average plumber salary may not sound as impressive as what other professionals earn, but those who have taken the plumbing path still take great pride in their job and compensation. Unlike other trades, the plumbing industry has appeared immune to the ill effects of the economic downturn, and seems even poised to survive in the event of another economic recession. Everything—homes, buildings, public infrastructure and industries—rely on plumbers for such vital services as the installation, maintenance, and repair of pipes and other fixtures used for various plumbing and heating systems.
Most plumbers have more than one field of expertise. Regardless of whether plumbers specialize in one area or engage in several, there will always be employment and income opportunities for these skilled workers.
However, to be able to exploit such opportunities, aspirants must take the appropriate plumbing courses, accumulate the required years of experience, and obtain the necessary license or certifications. For instance, a master plumber salary may vary based on work experience, field of expertise, or even employers’ capacity.
Average annual plumber salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics placed the average plumber salary in 2010 at $50,000 per year. As with other professions, the salary of a plumber improves with the attainment of more work experience. Plumbers with less than five years of experience earn a plumber average salary of $27,600 per annum. Those who have been working for five to19 years claim anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 annually, while veterans armed with over 20 years of experience make annual incomes of as high as $50,000 to $80,000.
Building equipment contractors are among those who pay plumber salaries of $50,000 or more. So are utility system contractors, local governments, natural gas distribution companies, and nonresidential building contractors. The glass manufacturing industry reportedly gives the highest plumber salary, with companies paying plumbers as much as $70,000 annually.
For many of us, plumber jobs mainly revolve around familiar tasks such as fixing a leak or installing a sink. The truth is there is so much more to the job of plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters, and steamfitters than these seemingly simple chores. They are trained to install and repair various pipe systems for structures ranging from water treatment plants that serve whole cities to high-rise buildings and houses. They may also be adept at other non-plumbing domains such as waste removal, gas or climate control systems.
Types of Plumber Jobs
Digging and leveling trenches, and laying pipes for drainage, sewer, water or gas systems are the key responsibilities of pipelayers.
Plumbers, from newcomers holding trainee plumber jobs to veterans with journeyman plumber jobs, install plumbing fixtures such as sinks, appliances such as water heaters, and complex plumbing systems in individual structures or facilities. In other words, their expertise lies in the installation of gas, water, drainage, and sewer systems in residential structures.
The installation and maintenance of both low-pressure and high-pressure pipes for commercial use, such as those found in hydroelectric power plants, factories, or central air conditioning or heating systems, are the main territories of pipefitters.
On the other hand, steamfitters install high-pressure pipes that transport extremely high-pressure material like gases. Sprinkler fitters install automated sprinklers that form part of the fire alarm systems found in homes and buildings.
Plumber jobs are deemed strenuous and physically challenging, given the need to stand, kneel, or bend for hours on end. They are also tasked to handle heavy pipes and equipment, a skill they can learn mainly through specific plumbing courses.
Employment opportunities for people aspiring for a plumbing career are predicted to be plenty in the coming years. Demand for plumbers remains high while numerous apprentice plumber jobs and master plumber jobs are widely available. However, there will not be enough professionals to fill that need as many job seekers prefer less physically challenging positions.
As more people and companies undertake remodeling projects and upgrade or replace outdated plumbing systems, labor experts predict that the number of plumber jobs will increase at a rate comparable to that of all professions combined in the next few years.
How to Become a Plumber
How to become a plumber is the first thing that aspiring plumbers must ask and find out. They may know what particular tasks a plumber performs but are mostly unsure as to what kind of education and training is required to succeed in the plumbing arena.
Facts on How to Become a Plumber
How long does it take to become a plumber? The following phases of an aspiring plumber’s journey should provide the answer. The vital first step toward a plumbing career is to obtain a high school diploma. Such high school subjects as math, computer and the sciences, specifically physics, can equip students with basic knowledge that will prove useful later on. Other subjects that may be relevant include drafting and blueprint reading.
Meanwhile, aspirants may also take advantage of vocational classes in plumbing available at some high schools. For those who want to learn how to become a plumber and enter the field, formal training offered by trade schools and community colleges are best. The plumbing courses they offer familiarize students with water supply and drainage systems, as well as piping, venting, fittings and valves. Graduates of these schools usually obtain plumbing certificates.
How to become a plumber apprentice is the next thing would-be plumbers must learn. Local unions and their affiliates as well as non-union contractors usually offer apprenticeship programs. Running four to five years, these programs afford participants both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Local plumbing codes and plumbing procedures ranging from plumbing fixture installation to water pipe repair and maintenance are but some of the things apprentices will learn in the course of such programs. Other equally important plumbing skills to be learned during apprenticeship include selection of materials and plumbing fittings, identification of pipe grades and types, and proper of use of necessary tools and equipment.
Aspirants also wonder how to become a licensed plumber. While licensing standards may vary from area to area, most states require plumbers to take and pass a test and accumulate two to five years of hands-on experience prior to securing a license.
Obtaining certain certifications, such as the one conferred by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association and GreenPlumbers USA on plumbers who train in water and energy efficiency technologies, can also help plumbers advance in their career and land rewarding jobs. Knowing all these steps, aspirants should now have a clearer understanding of how to become a plumber.
Vocational or trade schools offer excellent plumbing training to students eying a career in plumbing. Before they can become professional residential and industrial plumbers, aspirants must undergo some formal plumber training such as on-the-job and apprenticeship programs, as part of an intensive plumbing education.
There are a number of means by which plumbers, pipe fitters, pipe layers, and steamfitters may join the trade. For many residential and industrial planners, the surest way is to avail themselves of instruction and training available at career and technical schools, community colleges, and vocational schools. Most of them supplement their college education with on-the-job training.
Required Plumbing Training
At reputable, accredited plumbing schools, students get the chance to use professional tools and take plumbing training courses that comply with the National Standard Plumbing Code. Basic subjects include mathematics, algebra, geometry, physics, chemistry, mechanical drawing, tools, equipment, installation, troubleshooting, and theory of piping systems, materials, sanitation, and bacteriology. Through these schools’ plumbing training programs, enrollees receive supervised on-the-job instruction and gain the hands-on experience required for professional plumbers. Other pertinent areas such as safety issues and building codes and regulations form part of the plumbing training course material.
Training via apprenticeship programs are highly recommended for pipe layers, plumbers, pipe fitters, and steamfitters, most of whom are employed by commercial enterprises. These programs are noted for offering the most comprehensive training in plumbing for these plumbing jobs. Local unions and associations or their affiliated companies and non-union contractor organizations commonly offer such apprenticeship programs. Union and non-union apprenticeships typically require related classroom instruction totaling no less than 144 hours per year on top of four to five years of on-the-job training for plumbing. Participants attend classes in subjects such as local plumbing codes and regulations, drafting and blueprint reading, mathematics, applied physics and chemistry, and safety.
The training provided by vocational plumbing courses is comparable to that of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) courses, as both skilled professions require manual dexterity and coordination, and perform mostly outdoor services.
Those aspiring for higher specialized positions such as journeyman plumber must know that it usually takes four years to reach that level. Meanwhile, there are plenty of opportunities to occupy supervisory posts and even take jobs in related areas such as sales, estimating, design, and management. Ultimately, skill, intelligence, communication, ambition and excellent plumbing training will be one’s keys to growth and success in the plumbing domain.
Comprehensive plumbing courses and plumbing training programs will certainly benefit individuals dreaming of a lucrative and rewarding plumbing career. Educational options include free plumbing courses offered in their areas of residence, online plumbing courses, and intensive plumbing courses available at various colleges and through professional organizations. As they feature a curriculum compliant with industry standards, these courses and training programs will definitely enhance every aspiring plumber’s skills and knowledge base. True enough, most successful plumbers started their professional journey by taking a plumbing course on which they built their experience and expertise.
Plumbers make an average plumber salary of $45,000 to $50,000 a year, a figure much higher than the national average income. There is robust demand for highly trained and qualified plumbers while the number of plumber jobs is forecast to rise faster than the average growth rate for all professions.
What it Takes to be a Plumber
A high school diploma is the first step an aspiring plumber must take to fulfill his or her dream. There are high schools where plumber courses are available, hence, students who develop an interest in the field early on may already start their training.
Upon graduation from high school, aspiring plumbers must then pursue a plumbing course at a college. This is perhaps the most critical phase of plumbing training and education because not only does it teach students how to become a plumber, it is what will mold them into competent practitioners. At college is where students learn everything they need to know about plumbing and heating. More specifically, through a plumbing course, students will learn how to operate the tools and equipment needed in the installation of plumbing systems and modify old systems to use new technology and hardware.
Today, almost all homeowners and construction firms favor highly trained plumbers to assure themselves that they will get the best service. Not only will plumbing training courses satisfy clients’ requirements, they will also afford enrollees unlimited knowhow, hands-on experience, and a clearer understanding of all the methods, systems, and processes needed in the performance of their job.
Following completion of a plumbing course, graduates must undergo a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. While completing the program, apprentices normally receive a salary from the contractor, at applicable rates.
Obtaining a plumber’s license is the final step toward a plumbing career. Testing and licensing rules and requirements vary from state to state, thus it would be best to know one’s state laws and regulations with the help of plumbing unions or associations.
Community, Correspondence Colleges Offer Plumbing Courses
The most affordable plumbing courses are available at community colleges. Here students can take advantage of excellent plumbing instruction, specifically a plumbing diploma program that will require them to complete several thousand hours of training in plumbing. They can choose from various courses tackling various subjects such as soldering and allied techniques as well as mathematical concepts used in plumbing.
Leading correspondence colleges in the U.S. also offer online plumbing courses. Hence, those who for one reason or another cannot physically attend college classes have the option of taking plumbing courses online from home. These program also provide enrollees with the tools such as pliers, wrenches, and others they may need to complete the course.
Plumbing courses are indeed the best starting point for people who are determined to train and learn in hopes of building a fulfilling and profitable plumbing career.