Plumbers are typically recognized for their work on the common leaky faucet or clogged toilet. It’s true that the plumber is typically responsible for being familiar with, installing, and repairing a variety of pipe systems. The pipe systems might be used for transportation of water, waste, gas, or even steam. It’s true that pipes are important in an assortment of situations, and plumbers are those who can repair them if anything should go wrong.
It might come as a surprise to know that the plumber salary (along with similar workers such as pipelayers or pipefitters) tends to top all other occupation salaries that are in the construction field. In May of 2008, the median wage that plumbers across the board made was$21.94. However, there were a small percentage of plumbers that reported to have made below $13.22. On the other hand, another small percentage of plumbers were reported to have made just under $40 per hour. In addition to this, plumbers that worked with natural gas distribution were reported to make the most out of any other plumbers. On a different note, plumbers that worked for local government were reported to have made the least out of the rest of the plumbers.*
In addition to this, apprentice plumbers typically start out at about half the hourly wage of a professional and experienced plumber. As with most occupations, the plumber salary will steadily increase as the plumber gains more experience. With the growing interest in plumbing and higher demand for plumbers, jobs in the plumbing field have been predicted to keep growing into 2018.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
As previously stated, the plumber deals mostly, if not entirely, with pipe systems and the repair of them. More particularly, the plumber’s job is to both install and repair water pipes, waste disposal, gas and drainage systems in all types of structures such as residential homes or even commercial buildings. In addition to these skills, the plumber can install various fixtures that deal with piping. These types of plumbing fixtures include tubs, showers, dishwashers, sinks, water heaters, toilets, and more.
As with the mere job description for a plumber, there are also some things to expect when a person aspires to become a plumber. First, a plumber might only be temporarily employed through a construction project. Therefore, there may be times when the plumber has a lot of work coming in, and then there may be times when there is simply no work at all.
As for the growth of the plumbing field, things are expected to continue looking up for plumbers and other people aspiring to become plumbers. As old construction projects come to a close, there will also be loads of openings of new construction projects ready to employ qualified plumbers. However, a plumber may have a hard time finding a full time job unless he/she happens is self-employed.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
There are actually multiple ways a person can work to become a plumber. One reliable way of becoming a plumber is through training and education through a either a community college or technical school. While an aspiring plumber is in school, he/she might be also getting on-the-job training through an apprenticeship. While an aspiring plumbing completes the apprenticeship program, he/she will work for around 5 years with an experienced plumber as well as earning an hourly wage doing this. Even though the apprenticeship is extensive and takes quite a bit of time to complete, education is still mandatory and a plumber won’t get a job without educational experience on his/her resume. At this time, the required hours of education are 144 hours.
The apprenticeship is usually in place to give the individual hands-on experience, while the education is typically used to help the individual learn certain types of information such as safety procedures, regional codes, various regulations, math, etc. Both the training and education go hand and hand to prepare an individual to be a responsible and professional plumber.
When entering an apprenticeship, there are typically a few requirements. They are quite basic and require that the aspiring plumber be at least at the age of 18, have a high school diploma, be in shape, etc. The passing of a drug test is also required for most apprentices to enter the plumbing field.
Once the education requirements and apprenticeship have been completed, it’s time for the aspiring plumber to begin focusing on certifications. It’s important to know that not all requirements are the same across the board for certifications or licensing, so knowing whether or not a certification or license is needed requires research. In normal circumstances, the individual must have at least 2 to 5 years of experience working under his/her belt as well as a passing grade on the license examination. The license test typically covers things that have to do with knowledge of the field such as regional codes, safety measures, etc. In some states, it isn’t unheard of to have to obtain a completely different license to do work on gas pipes.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) is a group geared toward helping professionals and aspiring plumbers be the best that they can be and providing individuals with resources and extra training to enhance their experience.
The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) is an organization designed to help the plumbing field and plumbers continue to advance and excel, and improve growth as well as safety of workers and the public. The organization holds annual conferences and provides resources to members.
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