What Training Is Necessary to Become a Plumber?

Plumbers require both classroom and hands-on training. You can complete an educational program at a community college or vocational school, or pursue an apprenticeship program. Read this article to learn more about what training is necessary to become a plumber. Schools offering Plumbing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education and Training

Many community colleges and vocational schools offer plumbing programs leading to certificates or degrees, such as an Associate of Science in Plumbing and Heating Technology. These programs cover all the necessary skills that plumbers use, such as those in fabrication, sewage disposal, piping, and household maintenance. It will be necessary to obtain hands-on experience working in the field before applying to become a licensed plumber during or after formal education.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Key Skills Business, troubleshooting, mechanical, physical strength
Work Environment Businesses, factories, homes
Similar Occupations Boilermakers, electricians, HVACR mechanics and installers

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeship programs combine classroom learning with hands-on experience. Apprentice programs generally last between four and five years, and apprentices typically earn wages during the program. Local chapters of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA, www.ua.org) offer apprenticeship programs along with other union and non-union organizations. Participants learn about proper tool usage, fabrication, piping methods, blueprint reading, safety procedures, local codes, and basic mathematics. Upon completion of an apprenticeship, most are eligible to become licensed.


While requirements vary, most states require plumbers to obtain licenses before they can work independently. Typical requirements include two to five years of experience, and passing an exam covering trade techniques and national or local codes.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The median annual salary earned by plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was reported as $50,660 in May 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), although individuals just starting off in the field will likely earn less. The BLS reported that the lowest-paid 10% of earners in 2014 took home a median annual wage of $29,470. The employment of plumbers will probably grow at a faster than average rate between 2014 and 2024, with the BLS predicting that job availability will increase by an approximate 12% during the decade.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Shell Lake
  • Western Dakota Technical Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • South Dakota: Rapid City
  • Wes Watkins Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Wetumka
  • Washington County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Calais
  • Vincennes University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Vincennes
  • Tohono O'Odham Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Sells
  • New England Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Lancaster