A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN CONNECTICUT
According to the official statistics provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 4,900 people engaged in the plumbing, pipe-fitting and steam-fitting industry in Connecticut (CT) currently. CT is the southern-most state of the New England region of North-Eastern United States. As of 2019, Connecticut has a population of 3,565,287 people. It is the third smallest state by area but the fourth most densely populated out of the 50 states of the USA. The state has a GDP of $289 billion and the 2019 census revealed that Connecticut has a per capita personal income of $79,087 which is the highest in any state. A range of occupational opportunities exist in CT. It is in this context that this article will focus on the career prospects of a plumber and provide a guide on plumbing in Connecticut.
As mentioned above, there are 4,900 plumbers in Connecticut currently. Every 2.94 out of 1000 persons are employed in this industry. Plumbers in Connecticut enjoy an average annual salary of $66,170. The average hourly wage for a plumber is $31.81. Salaries typically start from $35,910 and can go up to $95,240. The top 3 cities in Connecticut in terms of highest wages for plumbers are Middlefield, Windsor Locks and Hartford. However, in spite of the high-income potential, Connecticut’s unemployment rate was slightly higher than the state average in December 2019.
WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN CONNECTICUT:
The Department of Insurance of the State of Connecticut makes it mandatory for plumbers to carry their own liability insurance. Plumbers must be able to produce the certificate of insurance bearing the name of the insurance company as and when their clients demand so.
Plumbing contractors could also consider getting:
- Commercial General Liability Insurance – to protect a business and its assets from various kinds of lawsuits.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance – this covers any sort of medical expenses or on-the-job injuries to workers.
HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN CONNECTICUT:
- Must be 18 years of age or above
- Must have a high School or GED Certificate
- College Degree or Vocational Courses (Optional)
- Must have work experience as an apprentice plumber
- Must pass the Licensing Tests
Provided below is a step by step guide on how to become a plumber in Connecticut.
HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN CONNECTICUT:
In order to become a plumber in Connecticut, it is essential to apply for apprenticeship programs under licensed plumbing contractors. To get enrolled in an apprenticeship program, the first step would be to get registered by the Office of Apprenticeship Training. The fee for enrolment would be $110. The coursework will include important lessons on water and heating systems, piping, valves, and vents. These programs offer classroom plus on-the-job training and last from about 1-4 years. After the successful completion of the apprenticeship program. Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training provides a portable training credential to the apprentices. The next step would be to apply for a license.
HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED MASTER PLUMBER IN CONNECTICUT:
The first step is to apply for the licensing examination, the cost of which is $120. The candidates can study for the exam using the materials provided in the Candidate Information Bulletin. For acquiring a journeyman license, it is mandatory to pass this one exam which is completely technical in nature. A score of 70% is required to pass all sections of the exam. There is another exam that must be passed to become a plumbing contractor, the questions are similar to those in a journeyman exam, but the former will also involve sections on law and business.
Connecticut categorises the journeymen plumbers and plumbing contractors into two categories:
- Limited – a limited plumber is allowed to do only specific plumbing tasks.
- LIMITED JOURNEYMAN – The criterion that must be met for applying or an examination for this type of a plumbing license is to have at least 1 year of experience as a registered apprentice. The holder of a pumps and piping journeyperson license will be allowed to perform only work limited to domestic water pumps and water conditioning. The holder of the gasoline piping license can perform tasks related to the installation, repair, replacement, alteration or maintenance of piping for petroleum tanks and related pumping equipment only. The work experience in both cases must be while in employment under a contractor who is licensed for such work.
- LIMITED CONTRACTOR – The holder of this license is permitted to perform only work limited to domestic water pumps and water conditioning. The requirement to qualify for this license examination is 2 years of work as a journeyperson or equivalent experience and training.
- Unlimited – an unlimited plumber is allowed to perform all sorts of plumbing tasks under section 20-330 of Connecticut General Statutes.
- UNLIMITED JOURNEYMAN – The holder of this license may do all plumbing and piping work as defined and while in the employment of a contractor licensed for such work. The requirements to qualify for this license examination shall be the completion of a registered apprenticeship program or equivalent experience and training.
- UNLIMITED PLUMBING CONTRACTOR – The holder of this license may do all plumbing and piping work as defined in section 20-330 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The requirements to qualify for this license examination shall be 2 years of experience as an unlimited licensed journeyperson or equivalent experience and training.
Both journeymen and contractor licenses expire annually on October 31st. The fee for renewing the journeyman license is $120 and the amount to be paid for renewing the contractor license is $150.
Candidates must pass the required exams to advance up the ladder and become licensed plumbers in Connecticut.
PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN CONNECTICUT:
Vocational courses in plumbing are offered by a number of trade schools. Taking up these courses is not mandatory for becoming a plumber and increasing the list of qualifications totally depends on the individual plumbers. These courses broaden the knowledge base and add substantial weight to the resume of the prospective plumbers.
Provided below is a list of trade schools offering plumbing courses in Connecticut:
- Porter and Chester Institute – they offer plumbing courses at 5 campuses situated in Hamden, Stratford, New London, Waterbury and Rocky Hill. These courses furnish soft skills like managing customers in addition to hands-on training like working on real plumbing systems. Students also receive classroom training and learn about pipe installation, blueprint reading, creating cost estimates for clients, repairing, troubleshooting, following state codes etc. these programs take 1 year for completion.
- Stamford College, Stamford – offers a number of courses in plumbing, right from courses for beginners to certificate and diploma courses in plumbing. These courses last for about 1 year. The beginner’s course lasts for 5 weeks.
- Industrial Management and Training Institute, Waterbury – offers a course under “continuing education” in plumbing to help students with license renewal. The cost of this course is $25 plus which is exclusive of the cost of books.
The following schools are a part of the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System:
- J.M Wright Technical High School, Stamford – offers 4 curses on introduction to plumbing, heating, residential and commercial plumbing.
- Bullard – Havens Technical High School, Bridgeport – offers 4 courses on various aspects of plumbing. On the completion of this course, students should be able to acquire immediate employment in the plumbing and heating field.
- A.I. Prince Technical School, Hartford – offers 4 courses on plumbing that cover introduction to the concepts, heating, residential and commercial plumbing.
- Construction Education Centre, Plainville – offers two courses in plumbing that fall under the category of “continuing education”.
- Eli Whitney Technical High School, Hamden – offers a formal training and apprenticeship program in plumbing. This is a state-approved program and the duration is 1 year.
- Oliver Wolcott Technical High School, Torrington – offers a number of vocational courses in plumbing right from introductory courses to more advanced courses.
- Bristol Technical Education Centre, Bristol – offers a formal training program which is fully approved by the state. Apprentice and extension courses are offered in the evening. They also provide related instruction on all license categories in the field of plumbing.
Plumbers in Connecticut have been reported saying that their businesses have had to suffer under the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, customers did not hesitate to be in close proximity with plumbers when the latter came to commercial or residential buildings. Under the current situation and the protocols of social distancing, there has been a slight drop in the demand for plumbing services. However, plumbing falls under the category of “essential services” and in comparison to other industries, the plumbing industry continues to thrive at a stable rate. In case of emergencies at homes or offices, plumbing services cannot be avoided. The demand for plumbers has been relatively better off. As the situation improves, it can be expected that more plumbing jobs will be created and the scope will continue to grow at a healthy rate.