HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN NEW YORK

A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN NEW YORK

As per the official records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 29,630 people employed in the plumbing, pipe-fitting and steam-fitting industry in the state of New York. It is a state in the North-eastern United States. With a population of 19 million (as of 2019), New York is the fourth most populous state of the USA. As of 2018, New York’s gross state product was $1.8 trillion and if it was an independent nation, New York would be the 11th largest economy in the world. There are 62 cities in New York, including 13 metropolitan areas where there are multiple occupations for residents to opt for. It is in this article that this article wishes to focus on the career prospects of a plumber and provide a detailed guide on plumbing in New York.

Flag of New York

JOB OUTLOOK:

Plumbers in New York enjoy an hourly wage of $35.06. The average annual salary of a plumber in New York is $72,910. The range typically falls between $60,436 and $79,499. The top three cities in New York in terms of highest wages for plumbers are Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The average wage for an apprentice plumber in New York is $16 per hour. Journeymen plumbers enjoy wages at $26.19 per hour while master plumbers get paid $43.68 per hour at an average. As mentioned above, there are 29,630 people working as plumbers in New York, which is the third highest in the USA. Every 3.11 out of 1000 persons are employed in this sector. The covid-19 pandemic infected a huge portion of the population in the state of New York which led to the shutting down of offices. Once these offices in commercial buildings resume their activities, there will be a substantial demand for plumbers again. However, researchers and Public Health Authorities have issued warnings to plumbers as they may be exposed to various kinds of bacteria when they try to fix the unused piping systems where water may have gone stagnant over these past few months. This increases the health risk but the plumbing industry has always stood out in terms of their selfless service to ensure public health and safety. Overall, the demand for plumbing services is likely to grow at a stable rate in the days to come.

WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN NEW YORK:

Even in case of extremely skilled and responsible plumbers, things may go wrong. Plumbers find themselves in messy and complicated situations when they are at the receiving end of a liability claim. Given the risk factors which may arise at work, plumbers if uninsured, may be putting themselves, their business and their assets at risk. This is why all plumbers, regardless of the size of their business could consider having insurance coverage.

insurance coverage offer protection against damage

A general contractor must have a New York Plumbing Insurance if they wish to work with other plumbers or even hire other plumbers under them. This type of insurance protects businesses from lawsuits with rates as low as $37 per month. Depending on the size of business and the nature of risks they are exposed to, plumbers can choose from the multiple structures available under this insurance. There is one basic plan that combines multiple coverages and is known as the Business Owners’ Policy. It covers income loss in case of an unprecedented halt in work, damage to property and equipment, and general liability that handles claims of damages and injuries while at work.

Unless one works for a company that covers insurance within its employee policies, plumbers must have a plumbing insurance. The minimum requirements include:

  • General Liability Insurance ($100,000 per occurrence)
  • Property Damage Insurance ($300,000 per occurrence)

There are a few types of insurances that are more extensive in nature and could be considered by plumbers, though they are not required:

  • Commercial Auto Insurance – covers damages to commercial vehicles used for business.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance – a very crucial type of coverage since it pays for medical costs of employees. New York requires all employers to purchase this insurance for their employees.
  • Liability Insurance – this is a more umbrella policy that provides more coverage than any policy that plumbers might already have. To be on the safe side, it checks policy limits and goes beyond what plumbers might be needing.
  • Additional Policy Endorsements – helps plumbers to get replacements in case a valuable equipment gets stolen.
  • Some insurance companies also provide for crime coverage. Exposure to crime can happen due to workplace vandalism, robbery, or even employee dishonesty.

HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN NEW YORK

  • Must be 18 years of age or above
  • Must have a high School or GED Certificate
  • College Degree or Vocational Courses (Optional)
  • Must have 2 years of 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 New York:

A plumber at work

HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN NEW YORK:

The first step after finishing the educational or training program, is to look for an apprenticeship program. Depending on the training program, the length of the apprenticeship can vary and is likely to last anywhere between 2-5 years. These are earn-while-you-learn programs that are meant to cover all aspects of the trade through both classroom and practical training. The first step to attain a license is to get enrolled in an apprenticeship program under a master plumber. After working as an apprentice, one can apply for a journeyman license.

HOW TO GET A PLUMBING LICENSE IN NEW YORK:

To register for a journeyman license, one must apply to the Department of Buildings Licensing Platform. The applicant has to pay a registration fee of $50 and submit a list of documents – photo identification, social security card, DPL1 form, Dept of Labor approved certificate of the apprenticeship program and an affidavit mentioning all details of the apprenticeship and a statement by the licensee. Currently, New York does not conduct an exam to become a journeyman plumber.

How to become a master plumber in New York:

In order to become a master plumber, it is mandatory to have 2 years of experience as a journeyman plumber and at least 7 years of working experience under a master plumber in the last 10 years. Applicants must also pass a master plumber test to attain a master plumber license.

The license renewal process in New York varies from city to city. One must contact the local licensing board for more details.

PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK:

Provided here is a list of schools that are ranked very highly in terms of the plumbing courses that they offer:

BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK CITY: 

New York City (NYC) is home to a population of approximately 8,336,817 people and is the largest city in the state of New York. It is the most financially powerful city in the state and has significantly impacted global commercial activities. Owing to its influence on entertainment. technology, art, fashion etc, NYC has also emerged as the media and cultural capital of the world. Those interested in taking up a career in plumbing in New York City may look into the following options:

  • La Guardia Community College, Long Island City – this is a hands-on course where students receive training on construction safety; construction math; plumbing drawings, pipe fittings; plumbing fixtures; water distribution systems, and vent systems. It includes a 30-hour certification from OSHA and uses the industry-recognised curriculum. There are payment plans available and the tuition fee of $2239 includes the cost of books and materials. This program involves 217 hours of training.
  • CUNY Bronx Community College, NYC – plumbing courses are offered under their “continuing studies” program. These are technical training courses to prepare students for their vocational careers. The training programs are conducted by professional plumbers. A student applying for these programs, must have a high school diploma. The plumbing immersion program lasts for 124 hours. Students learn about management and shop-safety in plumbing in addition to the usual coursework.
  • Apex Technical School, Queens – this course involves 900 hours of training divided between classroom training as well as hands-on training which involves applying the theory. Students learn about the history of plumbing, plumbing concepts, safety, installation, drawings, heat and gas systems, installation, pipe-fitting, motorised equipment etc. It takes 8 months for the completion of the course and the tuition fee is $17,216.
  • UA Local Union 1 offers a number courses, journeyman training programs and even apprenticeship programs. The training centres are located in Queens and Long Island City.
  • Harlem School of Technology, Manhattan – Offers courses in plumbing as well as HVAC technology. This program prepares individuals to practice as licensed plumbers by applying skills and knowledge to install, and maintain piping fixtures in home and business environments. Includes instruction in water distribution, waste removal, basic physics, technical mathematics, blueprint reading, pipe installation, pumps, welding, plumbing inspection, and applicable codes and standards.
  • Berk Trade and Business School, Long Island City – This school is ranked #3 in the list of plumbing colleges in New York. They offer a comprehensive plumbing program. The tuition cost is $11,600 and the program lasts for 7.5 months.
Plumbing training also involves welding and dealing with pipes of various kinds.

In addition to the abovementioned courses, there are also a number of courses in plumbing offered by various colleges spread across the whole of the state of New York. Those interested in attending a plumbing school, can look further into these options provided below:

  • State University of New York, Delhi, New York – they offer a 2-year program in plumbing and electrical instrumentation. Applicants must have a 73 high school GPA, a recent diploma and must have completed coursework in algebra and geometry. Students learn about the electrical and plumbing codes and work in labs and on real-world projects. The combined cost of books and equipment is $1450.
  • Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Westbury, New York – they offer a number of 2-year courses in plumbing and HVAC maintenance. The fees for these programs vary but all of them include both classroom and hands-on training.
  • SUNY Empire State College – this is an apprenticeship program where students can earn while receiving an associate degree. It is approved by the New York State Department of Education. Students are given hands-on training to prepare them for their careers as plumbers.
  • Monroe Community College, Rochester – they offer apprenticeship programs. There are 3 plumbing courses and each takes 4 months to complete. Students learn all about drainage systems, valves, water heating systems, piping systems etc.
  • Erie Community College, Williamsville – there are two plumbing programs offered under by college: Plumbing Systems and Green HVAC and Plumbing. The tuition fee for instate students is $5,575 and that for out-of-state students is $10,141.

With the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the state of New York is the worst hit in terms of the number of cases. This has impacted all occupations. But it has been observed that the plumbing sector has been doing relatively better than other house services like renovation and designing. While on one hand there is some hesitation on the part of the customers to allow plumbers to enter their homes, the need for plumbing is still there. Even in the midst of a pandemic, there have been emergency cases of installation of pipes or repair of leakages. Plumbing therefore counts as an “essential service”. There is an insatiable need for clean water. Plumbers are discovering that in some cases, the pandemic has also increased the volume of calls that they receive. With more people staying at home, more attention is being paid to the piping systems than ever. It has been predicted that the plumbers are likely to get even busier once activities resume in the commercial buildings because the unused piping systems will demand a lot of service. The plumbing industry is hence expected to keep growing at a stable rate in the years to come.

There is an eternal need for access to clean and safe drinking water.

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