How to Become a Plumber

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes that convey water, sewage, and waste in residential and commercial buildings. The Woodlands Plumber also ensures that fixtures and appliances are properly connected to these plumbing systems.

Those interested in becoming plumbers should first take technical courses. Local colleges or trade schools usually offer these. The next step is to complete a plumbing apprenticeship with a construction company.


Despite their close resemblance, plumbing and piping are not the same thing. They are two different systems that have distinct functions and fall under different regulations. The key difference is their purpose. Plumbing pipes transport water while piping systems move chemicals, gases and other fluids to support industrial facilities.

Plumbing is a system of pipes used to deliver hot and cold water to residential and commercial buildings. It also provides drainage for sewage and waste. In cities, the plumbing system is often part of a large network that directs solid waste to sewage treatment plants and supplies fresh water to homes and businesses. In rural areas, plumbing pipes are more likely to link to local groundwater sources and septic tanks for drainage.

A plumbing pipe can be made from a variety of materials, including copper, brass, cast iron, galvanized steel and PVC. The choice of material depends on the needs of the project and the environmental requirements. A good quality plumbing system is designed with efficiency in mind to reduce costs and maintenance. This includes minimizing the length of pipes and ensuring that valves are easily accessible. It also includes the use of fittings that are compatible with the system’s operating conditions and materials.

Piping is a vast interconnected system that contains separators, flanges, pressure hoses, traps, strainers and other devices that separate, distribute, control or stop the flow of fluids within a facility. It also uses special items to carry fluids, such as pumps, motors, valves and instrumentation. The components of a piping system are typically designated as pipe, tubing, fittings or flanges in applicable material specifications.

While a piping system is an integral component of any industrial plant, it can be difficult to distinguish from a plumbing system. It is important to understand the differences between the two systems before attempting to install a piping system. This will help ensure that you comply with building codes and avoid costly mistakes. It will also make it easier for you to create plumbing plans and understand the symbols that are commonly used.

A career as a plumber requires more than just being handy. Plumbers need specialized knowledge about construction and a variety of tools to complete their work. While anyone with a high school diploma can start working as a plumbing helper under supervision, getting licensed and taking on independent projects demands years of training. The main pathways to becoming a licensed plumber are apprenticeships, formal trade school programs, and on-the-job experience.

Plumbing education covers everything from basic construction skills to advanced pipe-laying and repair techniques. The rigorous curriculum is designed to teach learners the skills they need to safely install, test, and maintain residential, commercial, and public building plumbing systems. This includes understanding piping layouts, reading blueprints, and plumbing codes. In addition, students learn how to use a variety of hand and power tools as well as various plumbing fixtures.

Many apprentices learn through on-the-job training, working with experienced plumbers while they attend classes at night or on the weekends. These training programs usually last five years, and the apprentices must pass a series of tests before they can become licensed. However, there are also trade schools that offer accelerated programs for those interested in entering the industry quickly.

These programs typically last two to three years, and they provide students with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to succeed in the field. The coursework teaches students the fundamentals of plumbing, including piping techniques, kitchen and bathroom rough-ins, fixture installation, hot water and steam heating systems, and plumbing repairs. In addition to classroom instruction, these programs provide hands-on training with the use of hand and power tools, a variety of plumbing fixtures, and the latest in pipe-laying technologies such as socket and groove and flange and butt weld piping.

In addition to offering traditional apprenticeships, the SUNY system offers several Associate of Applied Science degrees in the areas of plumbing and heating technology. These programs are often more affordable, faster to complete, and can lead directly to careers in the skilled trades. They also fulfill the hourly requirements for apprenticeships. Regardless of which path a student takes, punctuality is essential to the success of any plumbing career. Being on time is the first step toward earning the trust of clients and co-workers.

There are a few different types of licenses available for plumbers. Each one requires specific training and experience, including the completion of a registered apprenticeship program or work as an entry-level plumber under a licensed journeyperson for a number of years depending on the jurisdiction. Most cities and counties require a license for plumbing work, as do many private employers. The state offers three licensing options: a limited license, a journeyman plumbing license, and a master plumber’s license.

Most municipalities have apprenticeship programs and other training opportunities for potential plumbers. Several of these programs are run by local BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services). These apprenticeships typically last four years and provide on-the-job learning, paid training, and a high school diploma or equivalent. There are also several online courses and training centers that offer specialized training for plumbers. Some of these programs cost a small fee, but most are free or offered at low cost to residents of the state.

Once you have completed your apprenticeship or other required training, the next step is to pass a written and hands-on exam. You can find more information on the exam requirements and locations by visiting the Department of Buildings website. There are also multiple prep classes offered in the area by unions and independent trade organizations that help prepare students for the exams.

There are also additional certifications available for plumbers to enhance their career. These are not mandatory but can improve your job marketability by demonstrating that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform specific jobs. NITC, ASSE and other professional certifications are available through national and regional organizations.

If you are planning to start your own plumbing business, you may need a business license as well. The requirements for this will vary by municipality, but you should contact your local municipality to learn more. You should also get small business insurance to protect your investments and ensure that you have the coverage you need to meet any financial obligations. provides comprehensive small business insurance at a fraction of the price that you’ll find from legacy insurers.

A plumbing apprenticeship is a program that allows you to earn while you learn. These programs are sponsored by unions, trade schools and service companies and typically consist of 4 to 5 years of on-the-job training with classroom learning. Apprentices learn to become a plumber through mentorship and training from a journeyman plumber. During this time, the apprentice is often paid for their work and may even receive benefits and health insurance.

During this time, an apprentice learns about all aspects of the business and how to operate different pieces of equipment. This can include installing and repairing pipes, cutting into walls, removing clogs, and using camera sewer line inspection equipment. An apprentice also learns how to prepare cost estimates and how to work with a variety of customers. The best applicants are well organized and detail oriented, able to follow instructions, enjoy working with people, and have strong mechanical skills.

Many of the skills learned during a plumbing apprenticeship are taught through observing and doing, rather than in a classroom setting. Apprentices work side-by-side with a master plumber and learn the ins and outs of the profession through hands-on experience. As the apprentice becomes more skilled, the master plumber will often give them more and more responsibility until they are ready to become a licensed journeyman plumber themselves.

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement for becoming an apprentice plumber. However, many people attend a vocational school to learn the basics before applying for an apprenticeship. These schools can help match you with a plumbing company, labor union or master plumber who is willing to teach you the craft. Many vocational schools have a course specifically devoted to plumbing that teaches you the basics of the job as well as your state’s regulations for safety and plumbing codes.

Whether you’re interested in becoming an apprentice plumber or just want to get more information about the career, you can reach out to customer care team. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you find the right apprenticeship opportunity for you.

Blanca Burch