As some of the highest paid construction workers, those employed in plumbing trades must be highly skilled and licensed to practice in their area. Plumbing careers go beyond just the residential plumber that makes house calls. With the right training, you can find a lucrative job as any of the following:
- pipe fitter
- pipe layer
- gas fitter
- sprinkler fitter
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What You Should Know About Plumbing Programs
Unlike other jobs, plumbing training often combines classroom experience with an apprenticeship. Technical schools may offer a plumbing degree that requires up to 144 hours of class instruction each year. In addition, you will become a plumber apprentice to learn from an experienced tradesman.
Apprenticeships can be lengthy, sometimes lasting four or five years. However, as a plumbing apprentice, you will be paid for your work. Once you have completed the plumbing degree program, you will be ready to apply for state licensure and practice on your own. Although each state and locality will have its own licensing guidelines, many require:
- two to five years of work experience, such as your apprenticeship
- a written examination
- ongoing education
Plumbing: A Growing Industry
Even in times of economic recession, the need for experienced plumbing professionals is great. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that plumbing occupations will grow an average of 16 percent by 2018.
While the median wage for a plumber is $21.94 an hour, many experienced professionals who specialize, such as natural gas plumber or business plumber, can earn $37.93 an hour or more. Apprentices generally earn 50 percent the amount of experienced workers.