Becoming a Plumber

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At a time when the economy is doing so poorly, many Americans are switching careers more frequently than before. Becoming a plumber is a great option if it speaks to your passion.It only requires vocational training and/or apprenticeships, and you can advance quickly, if you work hard and learn quickly. There are many ways to become a plumber, but here are the basics.

Salary

If plumbing is your passion, then being in the profession is reward enough, but pay is just as important, and the compensation is very competitive. Here is a national average breakdown:

Less than 1 Year: $37,500-$80,000

1-4 Years: $20,273-$59,180

5-9 Years: $23,836-$64,792

10-19 Years: $30,644-$81,572

20 Years or More: $35,466-$94,356

All of these pay scales are based on actual salaries, but it also depends on your location, how much work you put into the profession and how quickly you learn.

Training

Only a high school diploma is required, and although it is not essential, it helps if a plumber-in-training took basic vocational courses such as shop or blueprint reading. Since many schools do not offer these courses, this will not hurt an aspiring plumber's chances. It also helps to have basic courses in math (geometry/algebra) and science (physics). Taking business courses will also help you, especially if you plan to own your own company.

You can begin your plumbing career by joining an apprenticeship program through a plumber's union. If you want to join a plumber's union, you can apply for a four-year apprenticeship program, which normally comprises around 2,000 hours of on-site job training and 216 hours of class work. An apprenticeship is very competitive, with only 1 in 20 applicants accepted. But once you do pass, you'll officially earn the title of plumber. You can also find other types of apprenticeship programs in contractor, air conditioning, heating and plumbing companies.

Is it the end of your plumbing career if you don't get accepted? The answer is no, but you're next best option will be to enter a trade school. You'll have to pay your own tuition, and there is no paid training, but you'll get to earn as a plumber once you graduate. If going this route, enter a job placement program to have a position lined up once you finish schooling. If you are unable to find employment, find a plumbing company that will hire you on a contract basis. You can do freelance work by printing business cards and passing them out in the community. Because plumbing can be expensive, customers are looking for a plumber who can get the job done for a good deal.



You can use online social networking as well, or use your plumber's union if you were accepted. The key in becoming a well-paid plumber is to do great work and satisfy customers. From here, your reputation will precede you by word of mouth.



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