Want to be a Plumber? 5 Things You Need to Know

Are you considering a career in plumbing? According to The Balance Careers, plumbers receive a median salary that is generally higher than that of other construction trade workers. This may sound great in theory, but as is with all construction trades, there are a number of things to consider before you choose plumbing as your career path. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you enjoy working with both your hands and machinery?
  • Are you a precise and careful worker?
  • Are you a good problem solver?
  • Can you visually assess and understand detailed structures?
  • Do you have a strong attention to detail?

If you answered yes to these questions, plumbing may be a good fit for you. Here are five things you need to do:

  1. Enroll in technical courses

First and foremost, it’s time to get back into the classroom. Technical courses are the first step to landing a plumbing career. Classes are most likely available at local community colleges, trade institutions, or professional plumbing associations. Local New York City plumbing training programs are offered at Nassau Board of Cooperative Education Services (Nassau BOCES), SUNY Empire State College, LaGuardia Community College, and CUNY Bronx Community College, to name a few.

  • Complete an apprenticeship program

Once you have completed an educational or training program, it’s time to move on to an apprenticeship program. Depending on your training program, the length of your apprenticeship will likely vary, and could take anywhere from two years to five years. Apprenticeship programs are meant to cover all aspects of the trade and should give you a good idea of what you like or dislike in the plumbing field.

  • Decide on a specialty 

As you work through your apprenticeship, you will likely have the chance to choose what area of plumbing is a good fit for you. According to Plumbing Careers, there are six major specializations within the field: water supply, sanitary plumbing, gasfitting, roofing, drainage, and mechanical services. Within these specializations, there are a wide range of occupations. Decide what your skills are a good match for.  

  • Determine your end goal: journeyman plumber or master plumber?

In New York City, there are two levels of plumbers: journeyman plumbers and master plumbers. Journeyman plumbers are required to complete a training program and an apprenticeship before registering to work. To rise up to master plumber, you must have at least seven years of total experience as a journeyman plumber before obtaining a license from the city. Master plumbers can supervise journeyman plumbers as well as continue to perform plumbing work.

  • Obtain your license

If you do decide to continue on the path to become a master plumber, obtaining a license in New York City requires a very specific process. The city provides a step-by-step list of what you need know beforehand. If you meet the prior requirements, you will be able to schedule an exam. License exams consist of multiple-choice questions that test your working knowledge of rules, regulations, and NYC Construction Codes. If you receive a 70 percent or above, congratulations! You are officially a licensed master plumber.

Ready to find your next construction job? You can get access to Building Skills NY construction job and training opportunities by checking out our Job Seekers page.