A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN GEORGIA
As per data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), there are approximately 9,900 people employed in the plumbing sector in Georgia. Georgia is situated in the South-eastern region and as of 2019, the state had a population of 10,617,423. It is the 9th most populated metropolitan area in the USA. The counties in Georgia are also one of the fastest growing in the nation. In 2018, the state had a total gross state product of $602 billion and if it was an independent nation, Georgia would be the 28th largest economy in the world. The state has been ranked number one for business and labor climate in the nation. Georgia is also rich in its water resources. In this positive environment for different occupations, we wish to focus on the career prospects of a plumber and provide a detailed guide on plumbing in Georgia.
As mentioned above, there are about 9,900 people working as plumbers, pipefitters and steam-fitters in Georgia. 2.21 people out of every 1000 persons are employed in this industry. Plumbers enjoy an average hourly wage of $22.97. The average annual salary of a plumber in Georgia is $49,180. Wages typically start from $41,868 and can go up to $70,620. Journeymen plumbers earn about $24.94 per hour. Licensed master plumber salaries in Georgia usually average around $56,200. The top 3 cities in Georgia in terms of highest wages for plumbers are; Lawrenceville, Smyrna and Alpharetta. Union contract jobs offer pension and health benefits in addition to guaranteed wages and therefore attract a large portion of the plumbing industry. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an economic fallout for almost every profession but the plumbing industry has been expected to accelerate in the next few years. It has been projected that there will be a resurgence in construction activities once the situation normalises. This is expected to increase the demand for installation services and consequently repair services too. The need for plumbing will be paramount. This will surely lead to a growth in industry revenue.
WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN GEORGIA:
Insurance has become an immensely important aspect of any business. Despite working with skill, precision and care, things may go wrong. Plumbers if uninsured could face an unnecessarily messy situation and find themselves at the receiving end of a liability claim. Hence, to protect one’s business and assets from risk, it may be recommended that plumbers look into the different types of insurance requirements of the state. In Georgia, it is mandatory for plumbers to have the liability insurance. This type of insurance covers any kind of damage caused to property and injury caused to customers.
Those working on residential and commercial projects also need a General Constructor Insurance worth $500,000.
If plumbers or plumbing contractor have employees working under them, it is also mandatory to show proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance. This protects the workers in case of an injury or illness caused while at work.
Although not mandatory, plumbers could also consider getting Commercial Auto Insurance Policy. This covers any kind of accidents or damages inflicted upon the vehicles that are owned by the business and used for commercial and business purposes.
HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN GEORGIA:
- Must be 18 years of age
- High School or GED Certificate
- College Degree or Vocational Courses (Optional)
- Pass the Licensing Tests
Provided here is a step by step guide on how to become a plumber in Georgia:
It is mandatory to have a High School diploma or GED and be at least 18 years of age to be a plumber in Georgia. A plumber must also possess the required physical capabilities. A criminal record will lead to a careful scrutiny of the application and the circumstances of the conviction by the Georgia Board of Construction Industry.
HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN GEORGIA:
In order to acquire a plumbing license in Georgia, the first step is to get enrolled in an apprenticeship programme and work alongside a master plumber. Apprentices assist senior plumbers to perform a number of tasks like installation, repair, sewer maintenance.
The PHCCA GA Apprenticeship program offers an apprenticeship program. It is an earn while you learn program that equips students to gain their plumbing licenses. It is a 4-year program that includes 2,000 hours of technical and on-the-job training and 160 hours of classroom or theoretical training.
HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED JOURNEYMAN PLUMBER IN GEORGIA:
There are 3 kinds of plumbing licenses in Georgia –
- Journeyman Plumber License
- Master Plumber Class I
- Master Plumber Class II
How to become a journeyman plumber in Georgia:
To qualify for a Georgia journeyman license, one must take the journeyman examination. It is mandatory to have a minimum of three years of experience in the plumbing industry as a helper, trainee, or an apprentice under the supervision of a master plumber.
How to become a Class I Master Plumber:
To qualify for a Georgia master plumber license Class I, one must have at least 5 years of experience in the plumbing industry, including a minimum of two years of primary experience. Plumbers with a Georgia master plumbing license Class I can perform repairs, installation, and drainage work.
How to become a Class II Master Plumber:
To qualify for a Georgia master plumber license Class II, it is mandatory to have experience with industrial and/or commercial plumbing. One must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the plumbing industry, including at least two years of primary experience.
A plumbing license in the state of Georgia is valid for two years from its date of issuance. License holders are sent a notice for renewal 8 weeks prior to its expiry. The cost of license renewal is $75.
PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN GEORGIA:
A number of trade schools and colleges offer vocational courses in plumbing. Attending a trade school is not mandatory for becoming a plumber in Georgia but these courses offer both theoretical and practical training which widens the knowledge base of plumbers and makes it easier for them to acquire employment.
Provided below is a list of vocational training schools that interested plumbers could look into.
- Atlanta Technical College, Atlanta – offers a diploma course in plumbing or pipefitting technology. The course includes training in English, Math, introduction to plumbing and drainage system. It furnishes individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to practise as licensed plumbers. Students learn about assembling, repairing, maintaining pipe fixtures, blueprint reading, source determination, water distribution, welding etc. among many other things. The completion of the course takes four semesters and the approximate cost for the program is $6,450.
- Albany Technical College, Albany – offers a diploma in plumbing technology. This course includes a series of programs that prepare students for their careers as plumbers. The courses use a mix of plumbing theory and practical application. In addition to the academic, technical and professional knowledge, students also acquire that skills and qualifications of an apprentice plumber which makes it easier to gain employment. Having a high school diploma or GED is mandatory for securing admission in this program.
- Southern Crescent Technical College, Griffin – offers as many as 8 courses in plumbing and pipefitting training, in addition to a diploma in plumbing technology. The courses range from plumbing technician training to advanced pipefitting and are naturally of varying lengths. However, candidates must be 16 years of age to apply for any of these programs.
- Central Georgia Technical College, Warner Robins – offers a course called Online Foundations of Plumbing. The course fee is $2,195. The course equips the students with the skills that are enough to help them gain entry-level positions.
- Plumbers, Pipefitters & Service Technicians Local Union 72, Atlanta – offers plumbing apprenticeships.
These are some of the best plumbing schools that interested students could consider. However, there are quite a few other schools in Georgia that those interested in pursuing a vocational course could look into.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted every occupation and the plumbing industry is no exception. There has been a slight hesitation on the part customers to allow plumbers into their homes under such a situation where social distancing is the only solution to protect oneself. The plumbing professionals in Georgia are however, trying to the best of their capacity to prioritise health and safety. Georgia has issued strict protocols that must be obeyed. Payments are to be made through electronic modes only and no cash is to be used. A distance of 6 feet is to be maintained at all times. Most plumbing agencies are also trying to ensure that their employees follow proper sanitation methods and always wear the PPE.
The owners of plumbing outfits have also stated that “plumbing is a necessity, not a luxury.” This means that plumbing services are essential and will never be entirely restricted. With more people staying at home, the demand for plumbing services has also risen. It is also being expected that more advanced plumbing services will be required to fully utilise Georgia’s abundant water resources in the future. It has therefore been projected that the plumbing sector in Georgia will grow at a faster rate in the days to come than other construction services.