Most states in the U.S. require plumbers to get a license before doing plumbing work. However, some states, like New York and Florida, don’t have state-level licenses but delegate such functions to city and county governments. Plumber career progression and licensing are based on experience, passing tests, and education. Most states have classes of plumber licensing, namely; apprentice, journeyman, and master plumber status.
Apprenticeship programs typically incorporate a classroom aspect and some significant on-the-job training. Although only a few states require apprentices to have a license, specific requirements must be met before one is considered to join an apprenticeship program.
After getting an apprentice license or being selected to join an apprenticeship program, you can perform limited duties under the supervision of a master or a journeyman plumber.
Journeyman Plumber Status
To earn the title of a journeyman plumber, you should complete a training program (in-class or online) and five years of experience under the guidance of a master plumber. Before obtaining a journeyman license, students must have a high school diploma or an equivalent GED, have field experience, and pass a plumbing test. These requirements vary from state to state, but aspiring plumbers typically need four years of experience as an apprentice before sitting for a journeyman exam.
A journeyman license allows the plumber to operate independently and supervise the work of apprentices.
To become a master plumber, potential candidates must meet the additional exam and experience requirements. Most states require that candidates have at least two years of experience as journeymen before applying for a license.
Licensed master plumbers supervise the work of apprentices or journeyman plumbers and operate their plumbing business. Becoming a master plumber can take seven to ten years of training and education.
Besides, you must pass an examination to become a master plumber. Each state has its requirements to take the exam, which need some prior experience and training, like two years in a trade school or four years of experience as a journeyman.
Journeyman Vs. Master Plumbers: Know The Difference
Working as a journeyman is a mandatory requirement for becoming a master plumber. Although master plumbers and journeymen are licensed as plumbing contractors, only a master plumber can own a plumbing company or supervise the work of other plumbers. But both master and journeyman plumbers have the same abilities and skills and can operate without supervision. The most significant difference between a journeyman and a master plumber is that master plumbers have more experience and are well versed in business management practices. In contrast, journeymen only focus on the technical aspects of the job.
Few trade schools provide extensive programs for plumbing contractors; most schools combine plumbing with a similar trade to form a new course. Some trade schools also combine plumbing with construction and engineering programs. Though some online plumbing courses are challenging to find, they are available. Alpha Tradesmen Academy online plumbing courses will help you learn how to read and interpret blueprints, work with plumbing fixtures and pipes, use proper plumbing procedures and appreciate the various plumbing systems.