A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN FLORIDA
The official statistics of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics have revealed that there are almost 26,280 people working as plumbers, pipe-fitters and steam-fitters in Florida presently. Having a population of over 21 million, Florida is the 22nd-most extensive and the third most populous state in the USA. It is located in the South-eastern region of the United States. Florida has a whopping economy of $1 trillion which is the fourth-largest in US state. If Florida was an independent nation, it would have been the 16th largest economy in the world. The state budget has been increasing at a stable rate and as of 2011, Florida was recognised as the third “Best State for Business”. His article will focus on the career prospects of a plumbers and offer a detailed guide on how to become a licensed plumber in Florida.
As mentioned above, there are 26,280 plumbers in Florida. 2.99 people out of every 1000 persons are engaged in this field. The average annual salary of a plumber in this state is $45,080. The average hourly salary is $21.68. This is slightly lower than the average salary for plumbers in USA. The range of salary for a master plumber is $36,630 and $60,797. On an average, a journeyman plumber in Florida makes $20.05 an hour. An apprentice plumber makes $10 to $15 per hour on an average. The cities paying the highest wages to plumbers in Florida are West Palm Beach, Fort Myers and Sarasota.
WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN FLORIDA:
Even though it is hoped that there are no accidents, mishaps are common in any occupation. Getting an insurance is thus an essential requirement. Florida requires plumbers to have a “Contractor’s Liability Insurance” and a “Property Damage Insurance”. If a plumber owns a business that hires employees, it is also mandatory to have “Workers’ Compensation Insurance”. In order to acquire a master plumber license in Florida, it is mandatory to show proof of insurance.
It would be beneficial if a plumber looks at different packages before finalising one insurance package. It may also be recommended that plumbers could look into insurance requirements beyond those of the state to ensure all around and extra protection.
HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN FLORIDA:
- 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 Florida.
HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN FLORIDA:
To become a licensed plumber in Florida, 4 years of work experience as an apprentice is a mandatory requirement. Apprentice plumbers do not need a license to carry out their work. An apprenticeship is an earn-while-you-learn program where plumbers receive classroom and on-the-job training. These are supervised by licensed plumbers. These programs are offered by a number of trade schools and local plumbing unions. Contacting a plumbing contractor could also be useful. After an apprenticeship, a plumber can apply for the license.
HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED PLUMBER IN FLORIDA:
There are two types of plumbing licenses in Florida (variance depending on the levels of experience:
- Journeyman Plumber License
- Master Plumber License
How to become a journeyman plumber in Florida:
After the completion of the apprenticeship program a plumber can take the journeyman plumbing exam. Licenses are issued by the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board. A plumber must register to take the exam. The exam fee is $135 and the exam is administered over 2 days. Seats are allotted on the basis of first-come-first-served. It is therefore suggested to register for the exam a few days before the date of the exam. It is an open-book test with question covering portions of business, finance and trade knowledge. A candidate must pass this test in order to acquire a journeyman plumbing license.
How to become a master plumber in Florida:
To become a master plumber, it is mandatory to have 7-10 years of experience. A plumber is also required to show proof of liability and property damage insurance.
Having a criminal background might affect a plumber’s chances of gaining a journeyman or master plumber license. The educational and experience requirements must be met. Candidates must also show proof of their financial responsibility by providing a credit report.
A plumbing license in Florida must be renewed every 2 years. An amount of $135 has to be paid to renew the license. There is also a requirement for continuing education. Licensed plumbers must complete 14 hours of board approved continuing education as a condition for license renewal.
PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN FLORIDA
Vocational courses in plumbing are offered by a number of trade or technical schools in Florida. These courses offer on-the-job experience and include math, reading, building codes and a range of other topics. They involve classroom as well as hands-on practical training. Taking up such a course makes it easier for students to acquire a plumbing license. This section of the article will focus on some plumbing training programs that prospective plumbers in Florida could look into.
- DG Erwin Technical College, Tampa – offers a 12-month program on plumbing technology. This includes classroom training as well as shop experience. Students learn to install, maintain and troubleshoot plumbing systems. They also learn various safety rules, plumbing codes, usage of tools, repairs, construction, water conditioning etc. These skills prepare the plumbers for successful plumbing careers.
- Pinellas Technical College, Clearwater – offer a 4-year long plumbing technology apprenticeship that prepares students for employment as well as further training. The students are taught about multiple topics from the history of plumbing to the terminologies used in the field, installation, pipe-fittings, interpretation of blueprints, distribution of fixtures, etc
- Florida State Community College, Jacksonville – offers a course under Plumbing Management: Plumbing Technician. Students learn to deal with valves, faucets, pipes and drains. This course will enhance the job skills and provide basic knowledge on current plumbing technology. The approximate tuition cost is $1,594.
- Fort Myers Technical College, Fort Myers – offers a course on plumbing that will help students to become trained professionals in this high-demand field.
- Indian River State College, Fort Pierce – offers a wide range of plumbing courses including career training and apprenticeship programs. These programs cover a plethora of topics which allows students to choose an area of interest.
- Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth – offers registered apprenticeship programs that take about 4-5ywars to complete.
- Manatee Technical College, Bradenton – offers a part-time plumbing program that lasts for 14.5 months approximately. This prepares students for advanced training and entry-level employment. The estimated total fee is $4,900.
- Santa Fe College, Gainesville – has partnered with the leaders in this industry and developed a 1-year plumbing training program. It is a certificate course that allows students to enter the plumbing industry with the necessary knowledge. It furnishes knowledge on residential and commercial plumbing. Students also learn about safety, codes, isometric drawings, plumbing math, plumbing tools, specifications, employability etc. There are scholarships available for women.
- Seminole State College of Florida, Sanford – this course involves 90 hours of training and the coursework includes both theoretical and practical lessons. Students learn construction math, reading blueprints, usage of tools etc and obtain an OSHA certification.
- Orange Technical College, Westside – offers a 4-year apprenticeship program on plumbing technology. This program is registered with and approved by the US Department of Labor and the Florida Department of Education.
BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN MIAMI
- South Florida Institute of Technology, Miami – offers a course to help a student in becoming a plumbing technician. The program will take 3 terms for completion and students must have a high-school diploma or a GED. The course will provide all round knowledge on various aspects of plumbing – plumbing knowledge, water systems, heating, waste system, troubleshooting, state code requirements and computer drafting. The total program cost is $11,436.
- W.H. Turner Technical Arts Adult Education Centre, Miami – offers two courses in plumbing and plumbing technology. The two programs include 1,080 and 960 hours of training and last for approximately 12 months and 18 months respectively. The students learn about reading construction documents, understanding building codes in the pipe trades, plumbing pipe-cutting-and-joining skills, plumbing layout, installation and a variety of other concepts. The completion of these courses will open up a variety of career opportunities for plumbers from building maintenance to water treatment plants. These courses prepare plumbers for employment or advanced training.
- Plumbers 519 Joint Apprenticeship and Education Committee – is a union that offers a 5-year apprenticeship program on plumbing. Students learn the skills of the trade through classroom training as well as on-the-job experience. This 5-year program is divided into 1-year segments. This apprenticeship program is registered by the State of Florida.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic can be seen in every corner of the world. On one hand the volume calls for plumbers has increased as more people are staying at home, resulting in more usage of the appliances. But on the other hand, the levels of anxiety have gone higher for both the clients and the employees. In such a situation, plumbers must take additional efforts to maintain safety. In case a worker falls ill, plumbing contractors are faced with a major labor shortage. This is a cause of worry, especially in a state like Florida which has special licensing requirements for performing electrical tasks related to swimming pools and roofing. US builders also heavily rely on Chinese products like fixtures and many other tools. This has delayed the import process and created a supply shortage.
However as always, the plumbing industry has taken these issues in its stride and marched ahead. The plumbers of Florida are working to the best of their capacities and it can be expected that the industry will grow in the days to come.