How to Become a Professional Plumbing Contractor

How To Become a Plumber (Blog Cover)

Do you want to know how to become a plumber in 2020? As long as the sun is in the sky, there will always be people allured by the prospect of problem-solving. The trades have always been a necessity because everyone needs a place to live, places to do business, and amenities to fill those places. And there is always a ready and willing workforce of men and women prepared to fill the needs of the trades.

Does working with your hands and head appeal to you? Do you love being presented with a problem and working through it to solve it? Do you like not being bound to a single work station and meeting new people every day? If so then a career in plumbing may be right up your alley. Plumbing can be a very rewarding career for the right person…

Will Plumbing Suit you?

Not everyone is cut out for the trades. Even some people who are highly intrigued at the thought of becoming a plumbing contractor realize it is not for them once they actually begin their apprenticeship. We asked our community of professional plumbing contractors who have been in the business for decades and have seen greenhorns come and go what attributes they see in the most successful plumbers. Take a look at some of the personal characteristics they pointed out:

  • Fondness for Physical Work – Plumbing work may not be as labor-intensive as masonry or construction, but make no mistake about it – it is very physical work. Plumbing work will involve crawling into tight spaces, wrenching at rusted steel pipes, carrying heavy equipment, lugging even heavier appliances, and getting wet. Our community said that the most successful plumbers not only tolerate this type of work; but have a fondness for it.
  • Resilience – One of the things that some of the plumbing foremen we talked to said they hate to see in apprentices is a lack of resilience. The fact is that some foremen will be hard on you. They will work you very hard and some days, they won’t be able to teach you everything you want to know.  “It’s never a personal thing,” explained one of our community members “but sometimes the job demands what it demands and apprentices don’t always come first. A lot of apprentices take it personally and assume they aren’t cut out for the work.” Resilience is key, especially when you are apprenticing. 
  • Decisiveness – A lot of plumbing service calls are emergency calls. Of course, it pays to know your stuff and have the skill to tackle a plumbing emergency. But in order to stand out in a sometimes overcrowded trade market, you also have to be decisive. You have to be willing to take action in order to mitigate further damage in the home or commercial property of your customer.
  • Aptitude for Math – Some apprenticeship programs will actually look at your ACT math test results when considering your eligibility. But even if you find a contractor who doesn’t look at any test scores, an aptitude for math will serve you very well in the plumbing trades. Piping, fitting, and bending are all regular parts of the job and all involve complex mathematical calculations. While many people learn on the job, having an aptitude for math going into your apprenticeship will surely give you an edge in this industry.

How to Become a Plumber

Does it sound like you have all the key attributes of a successful plumber? Then you may be ready to dive into a career that pays well over the national salary average. So here is a basic primer for how to become a plumber:

  • Get your GED – Having your GED is a requirement in most states’ apprenticeship programs. It will also help if you took advanced math courses either in high school or college before you enter your apprenticeship. Courses in drafting will also increase your value as a new apprentice.
  • Complete Vocational Plumbing Courses (Optional) – This step is not a requirement in most states but it can be very helpful. Not everyone that wants to become a plumbing apprentice will get to be one. Only the most qualified will make it so having some vocational courses under your belt will give you an edge over the competition. Your vocational school may also be able to set you up with an apprenticeship much easier than if you were to search on your own. And of course, in some cases, you will actually be required to take these courses.
  • Become an Apprentice – You can contact the local plumbers union in your area and they will direct you to contractors who are looking for apprentices. You can also apply to local plumbing contractor companies. You will need to be hired on as an apprentice and complete the hands-on training over a course of 4-5 years. There is a certain amount of on the job hours you will need to fulfill depending on your state.

How to Become a Plumbing Contractor in 2020

Becoming a plumbing contractor entails a different process. In most states, you will be required to:

  • Be approved by a professional board to take the standardized plumbing exam
  • Have at least 4 years of experience as a journeyman, business owner or supervisor 
  • Pass the plumbing exam by at least 70%
  • Show proof of financial responsibility including a working capital of at least $2,500 and a bond of $10,000.

It is very important to note that the process of becoming a plumber and a contractor varies from state to state. But it is a promising career that is on the rise. In fact, job growth in the plumbing industry is predicted by professionals to rise 24% from 2014 to 2024

If you have any more questions on how to become a plumber or want to become a member of our coveted contractor’s directory, please get in touch with us here at Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance. It would be our honor to help you start or expand your career in plumbing.