It’s as good a time as any to become a master plumber today. It’s a $105 billion plumbing industry just waiting for you to get your skills in the game. While our master plumbers aren’t doctors, they still do save lives, which is just one of the many reasons this trade is a gold mine. In the U.S., getting a plumbing certificate and license is your first stage in becoming a plumber. From there, you can either move forward and become a master plumber or open your own plumbing business. However, it’s a long road between getting your license and becoming a master plumber. You have to get down, get dirty, learn the ropes, and keep learning the ropes continuously.
A certified plumber means that he’s able to master the craft. It means that he can understand the fundamental and complicated processes in plumbing and offer the best solutions to their client’s problems.
The Road to Becoming a Master Plumber
If you’re already done with your high school, and you have your diploma in hand or your GED, then you’re good to go. Either of the two certifications will be able to jumpstart your plumbing career. After this, you can attend a plumbing trade school or complete a plumbing apprenticeship. Usually, there’s a two-year window between getting into a trade school and finally landing an apprenticeship. You then have to spend another two to five years on an apprenticeship program. The years you’d have to work as an apprentice depends on the program you’re getting.
There are numerous benefits to getting into a trade school. For one, it gives you the flexibility and option to train where you want. Meanwhile, an apprenticeship allows you to earn while you learn.
Plumber to Journeyman Status
Before you can become a journeyman, it’s required that you finish a 5-year training program. The five years include about 246 classroom hours and some apprenticeship hours. You become a journeyman after you pass the licensing exam. Once you pass, you become an official journeyman. This means that you don’t need other’s supervision when seeing clients and doing some plumbing repairs or installation. Many are fine being a journeyman, while others proceed and learn more to become master plumbers.
The Master Plumber Status
Master plumbers take the highest rank in the plumbing industry. They have worked their way from the bottom to the top, from an apprentice to journeyman to master plumber. Their primary responsibility is to install and maintain water systems for residential and commercial buildings based on the city’s codes and regulations for safety and energy efficiency. Aside from that, master plumbers are also responsible for doing the sketches and reading the blueprints. They also work on gas, potable water, and water systems, drainage, and more. Master plumbers are also involved in bathroom fixture installation, among other things.
One of the perks of master plumbers is their flexibility, and they can either be self-employed or work for a contractor or a government agency. Some of them also go for union memberships to get more opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters see a 4% increase in jobs from 2019 until 2029. Regardless of the global situation, this growth is expected to push through due to the new constructions, renovations, and maintenance for new and existing buildings. Going for more environmentally friendly options for energy efficiency will also continue to rise, and thus, there will be a need for new plumbing systems.
- High school diploma/ GED certificate
- Trade school for plumbing/Apprenticeship
- Plumbing license
- State master plumber’s license
- Professional plumbing experience (5-10 years or more)
- Driver’s license and reliable transportation
- Physical stamina
Why Should You Become a Master Plumber?
If you’ve been in the plumbing industry for several years and you already know the ropes inside and out, then it’s probably time to consider an upgrade. While it’s true that journeyman plumbers have enough money, things are still different when you become a master plumber. It’s a lot different when you become your boss. Some states don’t require a master plumber exam. You should check your state’s guidelines to see if you must take the exam or not. Along with that, you might also want to check if you could work in different states. This would give you more room to operate and provide your services.
Categories in Plumbing
There are five main categories in plumbing. Most plumbers focus on one expertise and more on the next once they’ve mastered their first craft. Having more expertise means a better rate.
- General plumbing is for commercial and residential pipes, including the kitchens and bathrooms. General plumbers install bathroom fixtures such as showers, sinks, and more. They also make repairs and maintenance.
- Pipefitting is for installing and maintaining pressurized pipes for boilers, furnaces, water tanks, and other pressurized equipment.
- Steamfitting is for the installation of pipes where high-pressure gases and liquid travel.
- Sprinkler Fitting is for the installation of fire sprinklers.
- Pipelining is for digging and installing trenches and pipes of all kinds, including concrete, cast iron, and metal. The pipes are for sewer lines, natural gas, oil pipelines, and large water lines.
You can focus on just one area, or you can learn them all. There is an increasing demand for a plumber in the United States, and this need will continue for more years. Plumbing is among the industries that thrive even with severe global conditions. There will always be a need for plumbers since plumbing isn’t going away no matter the situation.