HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN ILLINOIS

A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN ILLINOIS

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 17,570 plumbers in Illinois. Illinois is located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the USA. It is the 6th most populated state in the United States of America. With a gross state product od $909 billion as of 2019, Illinois has the 5th largest economy in the US. It has been projected that the minimum wage in Illinois will go up to $15 per hour by 2025, which would be one of the highest in the nation. The average household income in Illinois is also higher than that of most states. Illinois has been recognised as the microcosm of the entire United States. This article will focus on the career prospects of plumbers in such a high paying state and provide a detailed guide on how to become a plumber in Illinois.

Flag of Illinois

JOB OUTLOOK

As mentioned above, there are 17,570 people engaged in the plumbing, pipe-fitting and steam-fitting industry in Illinois. 2.92 persons out of every 1000 people are employed in this industry. Illinois is the highest paying state for plumbers in USA. The average annual salary for a plumber in Illinois is $86,120. On an average, a plumber earns $41.40 per hour in this state. The range of salary is from $40,280 and goes up to as high as $156,513. The cities in Illinois that pay the highest the highest wages to plumbers are Elgin, Arlington Heights and Lombard.

WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN ILLINOIS:

Plumbing works usually involves a lot of risks. To protect themselves, their assets and employees from any kind of damage, plumbers could look into getting an insurance. All plumbing contractors in Illinois must be licensed. It is also mandatory to be registered with the state and pay an annual fee. Plumbers must maintain fours kinds of insurances:

  • General Liability Insurance – this provides coverage against bodily damage and property damage.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance – mandatory for contractors who have hired employees.

The certificate of insurance should be issues by a group or company that is registered by the State of Illinois to carry out business transactions. The insurance certificate must carry personal details of the plumber like name, address, contact information, type of policy coverage, policy number, certificate of the Illinois Department of Public Health, minimum limits of liability in accordance with the law. This certificate must also be renewed from time to time.

Insurance

HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN ILLINOIS:

  • 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 detailed guide on how to become a plumber in Illinois.

HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN ILLINOIS:

In order to become a plumber, it is an essential requirement to attend an apprenticeship program. Many contracting companies have availabilities for that prospective apprentices could look into. Candidates must submit the required paperwork, following which an interview will be conducted. Selection to this apprenticeship program will be made on the basis of this interview and the previously acquired qualifications of the candidate. The candidate must be a minimum of 16 years of age, possess a high school diploma or GED and have knowledge of some of the basic aspects of plumbing. There is an initial licensing exam that must be passed after filling up the Apprentice Plumbers License Application. An apprenticeship program in Illinois involves a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 6 years of training. This training involves on-the-job training as well as 2 years of classroom training. After this period of 6 years, an apprentice must take the licensing exam for becoming a licensed journeyman plumber. If a candidate fails to take this exam within 6 years of starting the apprenticeship, they will no longer be allowed to continue as an apprentice.

apprenticeship training

HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED PLUMBER IN ILLINOIS:

There are three kinds of plumbing licenses in Illinois:

  • Apprentice plumber license
  • Plumber license

After the completion of the apprenticeship program, a plumber must take the state licensing exam in order to become a licensed plumber. There are no further steps to licensing in the state of Illinois but a candidate must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must be 18 years old
  • Applicants must pay the licensure fee
  • Applicants must pass the state licensing exam for plumbers
  • Applicants must have 4 years of experience in an apprentice program

Chicago has a journeyman licensing program and also its own code of plumbing. There is also a Chicago Plumbing Exam in which a candidate must obtain a score of 70 to pass. “Journeyman plumber” is actually a title used in Chicago.

An Illinois Plumbing License must be renewed by April 30th following the year of issuance. There is a continuing education requirement and plumbers must provide a statement of payment for child support (even for those who do not have a child). Without these two requirements being met, the license will not be renewed. The cost for license renewal is $100 per year.

PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN ILLINOIS

Taking up a vocational curse in plumbing is not mandatory for becoming for becoming a plumber but it definitely expands the knowledge base of a plumber, smoothens and accelerates the career graph too as employers usually look for candidates with greater qualifications.

This section will list out some of the plumbing programs offered by a few trade schools in Illinois:

classroom training
  • Illinois Plumbing Consultants (IPC), Rockford – offers a high-quality training program on plumbing that will help students in license prep. The coursework combines classroom instructions and hands-on training to help plumbers gain all-round knowledge about the various concepts in the plumbing sector.
  • The same course is also offered by IPC’s campus at McHenry.
  • Plumbing Code Consultants, South Elgin – offers a continuing education course for plumbers. These are 4-hour classes. The dates and complete schedule for these classes have been put up on the websites for students to look into.
  • HVAC Technical Institute, Chicago – offers an HVAC course that has an entire module focusing on hydronics. Students will learn about the basics of water heating and cooling, piping, controls and troubleshooting. In addition to plumbing, a lot of career opportunities as HVAC technicians will open up for the students.
  • Plumbing Contractors’ Association, Downers Grove – offers a night apprenticeship program for plumbers.
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Elk Grove Village – offers a plumbing training program where students learn to solder, braze and use cutting tools. The students work alongside registered senior plumbers and learn to install water, waste and gas systems.
  • ETI School of Skilled Trades, Willowbrook – offers two short term classes on HVAC and Welding training that take around 7 months for completion. These courses help students to gain all-round knowledge on welding, piping, electrical work etc. and allows them to consider a career in the plumbing field.
  • Midwest Technical Institute, Springfield – In addition to the courses on journeyman welding and HVAC, this trade school also offers a continuing education course on pipe-fitting. In this course, students learn the basics of pipe-fitting. This prepares them to start a career as plumber, pipe-fitter or steam-fitter in the construction industry. It is a 10-week program comprising of classroom and hands-on training.
  • 180 Degree Education, Evanston – offers a number of continuing educational courses on plumbing. These are self-paced courses which are conducted online. Several online webinars are also held for the same.
  • Rockford Career College, Rockford – offers a plumbing course where students learn multiple aspects related to the plumbing system. The coursework covers a wide range of concepts – from water heating and cooling to drainage system in buildings.
  • Indian Valley Vocational Centre, Sandwich – offers a two-part course on construction trades. The students learn about several topics related to construction; tool safety, construction terminologies, building codes, basic plumbing principles, advanced plumbing principles etc. This course can open up opportunities for plumbing careers.

Almost every profession in the world has suffered a blow due to the raging pandemic which has forced many businesses to shut down. Initially customers were hesitant to let plumbers enter their homes. This situation however changed after workers started wearing protective gears and plumbing companies introduced contactless modes of payment. A number of calls also poured in for plumbers once backlogs of repair work started accumulating. With an increase in the number of people staying at home, there has been renewed scrutiny of the home appliances. There has been greater usage of toilets. Plumbers have also been called to clear drains that were clogged by children’s toys. Commercial clients have also kept plumbers busy with the installation of touch-free appliances. Overall, plumbers in some of the largest cities of Illinois have been reported saying that there has been no shortage of work. The demand for plumbing services is therefore not expected to die down anytime soon.

Plumbers are always receiving an enormous number of calls.

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