How to Become a Plumber: All You Need to Know

Plumber's work is related to every family because there is always a situation where pipes or toilets need to be repaired or a new house needs to be decorated, so the income of a professional plumber can be very promising. If you are considering working as a plumber, the basic requirements should be acquired including a clean driving record and criminal background, and successfully pass the drug test. If you meet these requirements, then take the next steps to become a plumber.

This article is divided into six steps to give you a clear and easy introduction of this career.

Step 1: Understand a plumber’s description and responsibilities

Plumbers are staff members who are responsible for the installation, maintenance, management and use of water pipeline equipment, who can be divided into installers and maintenance workers. A lot of people are doing the installation now, and very few people are doing maintenance, mainly technical problems, but now it is not pure in technical problems and maintenance field, the most popular can be considered a water pipe cleaning which is a low cost, high profit.

The daily responsibilities of a plumber include:

1. Strictly follow the procedures to ensure that the work specified in the repair order is completed in a timely and accurate manner.

2. Responsible for the maintenance of the hotel's water supply and drainage system pipes, valves and their accessories.

3. Responsible for the repair and maintenance of facilities such as faucets, inlet and drainage pipes, and floor drains in kitchens and laundry house.

4. Responsible for the maintenance of room sanitary ware such as shower head, basin, faucet, floor drain and other equipment.

5. Responsible for the maintenance and repair of pipes, valves, fire hydrants, pumps and their accessories of the steam system.

6. Responsible for the maintenance and repair of chilled water, cooling water, main pipes, valves and accessories of refrigeration system devices.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a plumber

Before you choose this career, it's necessary to ask an experienced person in this field to understand the duties of a plumber, how is it like to be a plumber or the pros and cons of being it, then you can make it clear that whether you are suitable for this job.

This industry is dominated by independent small businesses and almost every plumber is self-employed and is usually an apprenticeship with a master and apprentice. There is both cooperation and competition between the master and the apprentice. Such things as "church apprentice, master starved to death" is quite common in this industry, so the barriers to entry must be very high. The connections between practitioners in this industry are closer than in other industries.

The circle of this industry is small, and the scope of work is in the surrounding area, so you can know your competitors well.

The criteria for selecting this type of service provider, in addition to listening to neighbor recommendations, is the most common indicator of picking the old one. The longer you get stayed in this industry, the more popular you become and people with poor standards and bad reputation may be eliminated after short time.

The most important thing is to keep plumbers a lifelong career due to the above reason and choose a responsible teacher.

Step 3: About education and certification

There is no requirement of earning a degree in university, but it is basic to have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, and to become a plumber, taking some courses in high school would be better, including math, science, and computer. Besides, a university degree can make you more competitive than others, also colleges provide relevant courses that teach professional theoretical knowledge helping you in the future, such as drafting and blueprint reading, algebra, geometry, metric units of measure, thermodynamics, biology and so on.

During your learning programs or after, it's better to get a certificate which mainly includes the knowledge of water supply and drainage systems and piping equipment.

In some states, it is also required to pass a written exam and a practical test that you have learned in class. If you have never taken any relevant courses in school or university, you can apply for plumbing programs online or in community colleges, including pipe cutting and soldering, draining, welding and venting, electrical basics, water heating systems, and local plumbing codes.

Step 4: Apprenticeship Opportunity

For a starter in the plumbing field, it's difficult to work on one's own. Almost every young plumber needs an experienced plumber to work alongside. The length of apprenticeship varies, commonly two to five years. You will learn a lot in this period as an apprentice also meet some clients who may find you to work for them in the future. In addition, it’s a chance to see whether this is your ideal job in cooperating with your mentor.

Step 5: Prepare relevant skills

Except for professional skills which you can learn in class and from an experienced plumber, there are no much more special skills that a plumber has to own, but as a service provider, the following needs to bear in mind:

1. Be polite

2. Be patient

3. Eager to learn

Step 6: Find relevant jobs, and apply it

When you finished the apprenticeship, and master the work of a plumber, then the next step is to find a job. You can be self-employed or work for other businesses, but the most important is to let clients find you. Often potential customers are among your neighbors and relatives, so connect with people surrounding you to tell them that you are a plumber and ask them to call you when someone needs.

Joining Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Associations is also recommended, where you can get much information about professions, clients and job opportunities.

For a plumbing career, old customers are very important, whom plumbers depend on very much. Like other businesses, the longer you stay in this industry, the more resources you have.

Compared with other bricklayers, electricians, general contractors, and gardeners, plumbers have a big difference: their jobs are unpredictable, which are basically emergency situations, and there is no point in the off-peak season. Other types of work are very seasonal, and even cannot catch up in winter. But plumbers do better business in winter, because some people's pipes are frozen.

Important Tools for a successful plumber

There are some basic tools that plumbers need to be proficient within their tool-box:

1. Tube Cutters

2. Telescopic Tube Cutter

3. Adjustable Wrenches

4. Water Pump Pliers

5. Spirit Levels

6. Soldering Mat

7. Radiator Key

8. Tape Measures

9. Stanley Knives

10. Claw Hammer

11. Head Torch

12. Handheld Torches

13. Mains Tester

14. Cordless Drill

15. Holesaw Kit

Develop your career path

A plumber often starts as an apprentice, but once you finished it and become a plumber working independently, you can also choose a different career path. It can be:

1. Plumbers in designing

2. Consultancy

3. Teaching and management

You can be specialized in installation or repair and maintenance or teach starters in this field, but you can also receive orders alongside teach others, which is your freedom to choose.

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