Interested in a plumbing career? Whether you’re drawn to the plumbing profession because of the huge demand, good pay, and good benefits, or you simply like working with your hands, plumbing is one of the best career options for young adults today. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a plumber, and how to move up in your career once you get your start.
Step 1: Complete Your Technical Training
The process of qualifying for an entry-level plumber job is much faster and much cheaper than earning a degree at a 4-year university. The plumbing certificate program at Ranken Technical College in north St. Louis City, for example, is an excellent program that takes 9 months to complete and costs approximately $15,000. After completing a plumbing program at a high-quality tech school like Ranken, you will have basic plumbing knowledge and be qualified to work as an Apprentice Plumber.
Step 2: Work as an Apprentice Plumber
During the first years of your plumbing career, you’ll work as an apprentice alongside a Journeyman or Master Plumber. A plumbing apprenticeship lasts 5 years and provides you with valuable on-the-job training. As an Apprentice Plumber at Tony LaMartina Plumbing Company, you will start off at $15 per hour and gradually move up to nearly $34 per hour.
Step 3: Work as a Journeyman Plumber
Upon completing your 5-year apprenticeship, you will be eligible to become a Journeyman Plumber. You will need to pass the appropriate licensing exams to earn your plumbing license. As a licensed Journeyman Plumber, you will complete service calls on your own without supervision. Journeyman Plumbers at Tony LaMartina Plumbing Company make over $38.50 per hour.
You can continue working at the journeyman level for the rest of your career (as long as you maintain your license), or you can advance to the highest level of Master Plumber.
Step 4: Become a Master Plumber (Optional)
After working at least 2 years as a Journeyman Plumber, you’ll be eligible to take the necessary exams to become a licensed Master Plumber. As a Master Plumber, you can move up to supervisory positions or even start your own company. This means you’ll have more responsibilities and a higher salary. Master Plumbers can make up to $100,000 per year or more.