The Career of a Plumber

Plumbers are best known for showing up when a pipe bursts or the toilet is clogged, but they also play an important role in new construction and commercial settings. They consult blueprints and building codes to install piping systems, appliances, and fixtures.


Performing plumbing duties means repairing and installing pipes, fixtures, and appliances. Plumbers are also responsible for educating customers on proper maintenance and water efficiency. Whether working on a clogged drain or a major pipe replacement, plumbers must be skilled in reading blueprints and have excellent critical thinking skills to troubleshoot problems quickly. Some plumbers even provide customer service to help customers manage their expectations and resolve any issues that may arise. Contact O Hara Plumbing for professional help.

Plumbers are often required to work on a variety of different types of systems and projects, including commercial, industrial and residential. They may be called out for emergency repairs on toilets, bathtubs and showers, but they are also required to install new fixtures like sinks, faucets and water heaters. Additionally, some plumbing jobs require plumbers to have experience with sewer systems, water delivery and fire sprinkler systems.

The job of a plumber can be dangerous and requires physical exertion. Because of this, it is important for plumbers to wear protective gear and follow all safety regulations when on the job site. However, even if they take all necessary precautions, there is always the possibility that they will make a mistake that could cause property damage or personal injury. Therefore, it is crucial for all plumbers to carry adequate insurance coverage.

The ideal candidate for this role should have the ability to read blueprints, be familiar with plumbing math and understand the principles of electrical wiring. They should also be comfortable operating hand or power tools, welding and soldering equipment and plumbing devices. Plumbers should also have the ability to climb ladders and stairs, as well as work in confined spaces. They must also be able to identify and locate underground piping and perform backflow testing when needed. Finally, it is important for plumbers to keep track of inventory and maintain a clean and organized work area. In addition, they should have a clear understanding of their employer’s policies regarding the use of company vehicles and tools. Providing this information in the job description will help to ensure that only qualified candidates apply for the position.

Education and Training Requirements

Aspiring plumbers need at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. In addition, they must complete a formal apprenticeship program or training at a trade school. These programs typically take between four and five years to complete. Apprentices learn to install pipes, work with various tools and equipment, and understand plumbing codes, regulations, safety protocols, and blueprint reading. They also gain hands-on experience working under the supervision of a master plumber.

Many jurisdictions require plumbers to pass a state or local licensing exam before they can work independently. These exams can be challenging, so it is important to study for them and prepare by taking practice tests. Applicants may also need to submit signed and notarized affidavits from master plumbers who can vouch for their experience.

Plumbing requires a strong understanding of math, including algebra and geometry. It’s also helpful to have basic computer skills, especially word processing and spreadsheet software. It’s also important to develop strong communication skills, as plumbers often interact with clients and customers. Taking courses in English, speech, and communications can help aspiring plumbers prepare for these interactions.

Apprenticeship programs provide comprehensive classroom instruction in addition to on-the-job training. They also teach aspiring plumbers the practical aspects of their job, such as pipe cutting and soldering. They may also receive instruction in drafting and blueprint reading, as well as the basics of plumbing systems and how to troubleshoot problems. In addition to their classroom instruction, apprentices receive a percentage of the salary of a journeyman plumber while they are in an apprenticeship program.

Aspiring plumbers should consider taking college courses in business and administrative practices, as they may eventually be required to manage their own plumbing businesses. These courses can provide valuable insight into how to operate a small business, including bookkeeping, budgeting, and customer service. It’s also a good idea to stay updated on new advancements in the plumbing industry, as plumbers must be able to adapt to changing technologies and trends. Lastly, aspiring plumbers should participate in networking activities within the plumbing community to connect with fellow professionals and share knowledge.

Work Environment

Plumbers are in demand and enjoy higher pay than many other construction trade workers. They work long hours and sometimes have to be on call for emergencies. Some have to deal with unpleasant material found in drains, and they often have to work in tight spaces like crawlspaces and under kitchen sinks. They must also be able to maneuver parts and tools precisely, which requires dexterity. Those who are not used to this type of physically demanding work may find it stressful.

Those who want to become plumbers can start by entering an apprenticeship program, which usually lasts four or five years and combines classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training. Some states require a license to work as a plumber, so check your state’s requirements before starting the program.

After completing an apprenticeship, most plumbers get full-time jobs with benefits. However, some choose to start their own plumbing businesses or contracting companies. Others work for large commercial plumbing firms. If you are a good problem solver, the job of a plumber can be rewarding and fun.

In this career, you need to have good communication skills since your responsibilities include talking to customers on a regular basis. Plumbers also need to be able to read blueprints and other documents. It is also important to have a strong work ethic because the job can be very demanding.

You should consider becoming a member of a professional association, as this will give you the opportunity to network with other plumbers and improve your craft. Some associations offer educational and professional resources for members, and some even have certification programs.

As with other types of construction jobs, employment for plumbers is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. During economic downturns, construction activity tends to decrease, and this can lead to job loss for some plumbers. If you are worried about the stability of this career, you can always try to diversify your skill set by taking on jobs that are not related to plumbing. This will help you stay employed during slow periods. You can also pursue a more advanced career in the field by earning a master’s degree in plumbing or business management.


As with any career, there are pros and cons of being a plumber. Pros include job stability and the ability to make a decent living. On the downside, however, plumbers often work nights and weekends and are on-call for emergencies.

Another benefit is that there’s room for career advancement. Plumbers can eventually move up the ranks from apprentice to journeyman to master plumber, and each rung in the career ladder comes with higher wages.

Plumbers also don’t need to go through expensive college programs in order to learn their trade. Instead, they can enroll in vocational schools or community colleges for much less money and enter apprenticeships where they get paid while they learn their trade. This saves a lot of money on school loans, which can help future plumbers build their savings faster.

Other benefits of being a plumber include the fact that it’s not as boring as working in an office all day. In addition, plumbers get to travel to different places and interact with a variety of people on a daily basis. Additionally, the plumbing industry is in high demand and the profession can be lucrative if it’s done well.

A potential disadvantage of being a plumber is that it’s not as secure as other careers, such as in law or medicine. However, it’s important to remember that plumbing is a necessary service and there will always be buildings and houses that need plumbing services.

In addition, plumbing is a regulated and licensed occupation, which means that it’s hard to find a good plumber without a license. This ensures that the skills of a plumber are up to par and provides peace of mind to homeowners and business owners.

Another downside of being a plumber is that it can be difficult to get health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits. Most plumbing companies don’t provide these benefits, so it’s up to the individual plumber to pay for these things on their own. However, some plumbers may choose to join a union and receive these benefits from their employer. In either case, it’s vital to weigh the pros and cons of being a plumber before making a final decision.