How to become a plumber in the USA 2022: Hard or Easy to learn?

Plumbing is a trade that’s in demand. It’s also one of the most physically demanding professions. To become a professional plumber, you need to have a lot of patience and perseverance. Choose from these three ways to become a plumber: apprenticeship, college degree, or vocational school.

All options will require hard work and dedication for success. The best way for you to get started is by deciding which route you’re interested in taking so that you can prepare for it accordingly. Once you’ve made your decision, read on!


How is it to be a plumber in the USA? Hard work

When most people think of plumbing, they might imagine a dripping faucet or the sound of running water. But plumbing is much more complicated than that. It’s a trade that involves installing, maintaining, and repairing everything from toilets to sewer lines.

You also need to be able to take on various tasks, be extra careful with your tools, and focus on your work. With the help of this blog post, you should be well-equipped to enter this profession. It requires a lot of creativity and critical thinking.

You will be faced with several situations that will push you to experiment and find the problem. With the advent of new technologies (such as heat pumps), it is difficult to know everything. This is why plumbers are specializing. Some are focussing on fixing drains (as can be seen in the video below), others are mainly installing new systems.

It is also possible to focus on residential or business customers. Working in an apartment is different than working in an individual home as the systems are more complex in an apartment complex. 

The trade has also evolved a lot. In the past, you needed to know how to solder and work with steel. Nowadays new machines and techniques make it easy to install a new system. Sometimes you just have to screw two parts together and it is already done. The complexity now is more in the diversity of systems. Therefore the work has shifted from hard physical labor to intellectual challenges.

Finding the source of a leak or issue can be very difficult and in some instances, advanced equipment is used to determine what is going on. For example, plumbers use cameras that go into pipes to check what is going on. Tree roots in pipes are a common problem. It is not always easy to reach these so plumbers have to think about how to do this. There is still a physical element to the job. If you have to dig up pipes, it will often involve some digging. 

It can be a dirty job as you might come in contact with poop or smelly substances. This is part of the job. For example, it is possible that you have to fix a toilet that has poop in it as people kept using it while it was clogged. You have to wear a glove and deal with it. Not everything is dirty in plumbing but these jobs are part of the game. You will be well compensated for this as you can charge more for this type of job. 

How to Become a Plumber

You are not going to become a plumber overnight. Even experienced plumbers are learning new things every day. It is a process that can take a few years. Let’s take a look at how you can get there:

  • Apprenticeship

If you want to become a plumber by taking an apprenticeship (or paid internship), you’ll need to spend at least two years earning money as a laborer.

After this, you might need to pass a licensing exam and work for about four more years in the field. Each state has different rules that constantly change. Check with your local trade community to see what is needed. To get started, you can reach out to local plumbing companies. They are often desperate to find workers and might offer an apprenticeship on the spot.

It’s a great way to learn the trade and build your career as you progress. The downside of an apprenticeship is that you’ll have to work with someone who is already established in this trade. If you’re not interested in working for anyone else, then it may be worth the wait.

  • School Degree

To enter the field with a college degree, you will first need to study plumbing and learn how it works. Then, seek out employment in a commercial or residential setting that requires licensed plumbers. When you find your position, you can start working as a plumber and make enough money to pay off your student loans in no time.

There is often more theory if you choose this path. This is great if you want to work in a bigger company. An apprenticeship can teach you more practical skills and might be the best option if you want to start on your own. 

  • Vocational School

To become an accredited plumber via vocational school, you’ll first need to take classes on plumbing theory and learn how it works. In most instances, you will also need to take on an internship. It can be challenging to take on this type of education as it is often done at night.

You have to be motivated to keep going. Afterward, get yourself employed in one of the many types of jobs that require professional-level plumbers like construction sites or factories. As soon as these job opportunities arise, apply for the necessary certifications so that they can start doing their job well. Now that you’ve decided which route you want to take towards becoming a professional plumber, read on!

Licensed versus unlicensed plumber

Depending on what state you live in, there may be different requirements for becoming a plumber. For example, if you live in New York then you can’t become a plumber without earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree from an accredited vocational school. These degrees are flexible and can allow you to work as a plumber while still attending school full-time.

If your state doesn’t have any special requirements then no matter what field or type of school you choose, it will all come down to your dedication and perseverance. You’ll need to put in the hours and hard work to learn every aspect of plumbing including how to fix clogged drains or install piping. The physical demands of this profession require that you be healthy so make sure to keep up with your health routine throughout the process!

If you want to become a licensed plumber, there are certain requirements you must meet. Each state has different rules so check with your local trade group.  An example of possible requirements are: you must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.  They sometimes require that you have some experience in the trade as well. 

If you decide that becoming a licensed plumber is not the right choice for you, but still want to pursue this career path, then vocational school could be an option.  

How long does it take to become a plumber?

Learning the trade can take anywhere from 2-3 years, so you have to be committed.

It takes a lot of hard work and determination to become a professional plumber. It will take an average of three to six years to become a fully registered plumber, but this is not always the case. The length of time it takes for you to be fully qualified as a plumber depends on what route you choose: apprenticeships, college degree, or vocational school.

The truth is that plumbers still learn every day so no one is going to be the perfect plumber. With all the new technologies that keep popping up, it is very hard to be on top of everything. This is why plumbers specialize. Start with installing a new system (for example a sink) with a kit and see if it is something for you.

There are great kits out there that explain what you have to do. If you enjoy doing this, you can take the first step and enroll in school or an apprenticeship. The good news is that companies are desperate for workers and might hire you after a few months. The basics of plumbing are quite easy to learn. This is why you can get started in the field immediately after your apprenticeship started. For this reason, apprenticeships are the fastest way to get started in this trade.

  It is a trade that is hard to master though as there is a lot to know. Installing a system is often easier than repairing one. Learning how things work happens day by day, step by step. It can be a lot of fun!