A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN OKLAHOMA
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 6,410 plumbers in Oklahoma. Situated in the South-Central region of the United States, Oklahoma is home to approximately 3,956,971 people. It is the 20th most extensive state of the 50 states of the USA. Oklahoma’s economic base is host to a diverse range of sectors from natural gas to aviation, from agriculture to telecommunications. It is one of the most business-friendly state of the nation. A number of top-ranked companies are headquartered in Oklahoma and in 2007, the state had the 7th lowest tax burden. As of 2018, Oklahoma had a gross state product of $197.2 billion. Total employment has been substantial too. It is in this context that this article wishes to focus on the career prospects of a plumber and provide a detailed guide on plumbing in Oklahoma.
As mentioned above, there are 6,410 people engaged in the plumbing, pipe-fitting and steam-fitting industry in Oklahoma. Every 3.96 out of 1000 persons are employed in this sector. Plumbers enjoy an hourly wage of $24.07. The average annual salary of a plumber in the state of Oklahoma is $50,070. Wages typically start from $28,030 and can go up to $77,960. The top 3 cities in Oklahoma in terms of highest wages for plumbers are; Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Midwest City. The average hourly wage of a journeyman plumber in Oklahoma is $23.94 and that enjoyed by a master plumber is $25.21. In December 2019, the BLS report stated that the unemployment rate in Oklahoma was 0.1% lower than the national average which is an indication towards a stable and healthy economy. Currently, there are a lot of openings for plumbers in Oklahoma and the scope continues to grow.
WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN OKLAHOMA:
The insurance policies for plumbers in Oklahoma is regulated by the Construction Industries Board (CIB), Oklahoma. Even after passing the exam, the plumber’s license will stand inactive until this Board receives the proof of the insurance listed below:
- An Active Plumbing Contractor must provide a certificate of insurance evidencing a minimum of $50,000.00 commercial general liability insurance in the form of a Certificate of General Liability. The individual license holder’s name must be on the certificate of insurance. The certificate holder is the Construction Industries Board.
- An Active Plumbing Contractor is also required to carry a five thousand dollar ($5,000.00) Corporate Surety Bond payable to the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board with original signatures, seals and Power of Attorney attached. The bond must be in the individual license holder’s name. The bond must be continuous and provide for thirty- (30) days cancellation notice.
Most states also require business insurance for plumbers/plumbing contractors to protect their businesses.
Plumbing contractors who have employees, must also get Workers’ Compensation Insurance which will provide coverage for any damage caused to their workers’ health while at work. It is also necessary to get an unemployment tax account. This unemployment tax allows the government to tax businesses that have employees. The revenue collected is then allocated to state unemployment agencies and then granted to unemployed workers who are eligible to claim unemployment insurance.
HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN OKLAHOMA:
- Must be 18 years of age or above
- Must have a high School or GED Certificate
- College Degree or Vocational Courses (Optional)
- Must have 3 years of 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 Oklahoma.
HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN OKLAHOMA:
Before applying for a plumbing license in Oklahoma, it is mandatory to work as an apprentice plumber. All those helpers who perform plumbing related work must be registered and supervised by a journeyman plumber or a contractor in a ratio of no more than three apprentices to one contractor. The number of hours worked as an apprentice adds to the verifiable experience required to become a journeyman plumber. 3 years of experience under a licensed contractor is mandatory. However, a portion of these years may be substituted by acquisition of new educational qualifications.
HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED PLUMBER IN OKLAHOMA:
There are two kinds of plumbing licenses in Oklahoma –
- Journeyman Plumber License
- Master Plumber License
How to become a journeyman plumber in Oklahoma:
The first step is to fill up an application form. The application fee is $75. Once the application gets approved and the applicant is eligible for taking the examination, a third-party testing vendor is assigned who sets the date, time and location of the exam.
There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled in order to become a journeyman plumber:
- Must be 18 years of age
- Must have 3 years of experience in the plumbing trade under a licensed plumbing contractor
- Or, equivalent 3 years of verifiable experience in the US military
- Or, must have a verifiable out-of-state plumbing license
In case an applicant does not have the required experience of working for 3 years under a licensed contractor, it is mandatory to have an equivalent working experience of 3 years in the US Military or a verifiable out-of-state plumbing license. After acquiring the license, a licensed journeyman plumber must work under a licensed contractor. A journeyman can supervise up to three apprentices and work at both small and large-scale projects. This journeyman experience under a contractor acts as verifiable experience that is needed to become a plumbing contractor.
How to become a plumbing contractor in Oklahoma:
In order to become a plumbing contractor in Oklahoma, an application form must be filled. The application fee is $330.
The next step is to take the exam. It is essential to pass both the business and the law section and score a minimum of 75% in every section.
PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN OKLAHOMA:
A number of trade schools or community colleges offer vocational courses in plumbing. Enrolling in these courses is not mandatory for becoming a plumber. But it definitely adds more weight to a prospective plumber’s resume and widens their knowledge base at various stages of becoming a plumber. This section of the article will list out a few colleges offering plumbing courses in some of the largest cities of Oklahoma i.e., Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Norman.
BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN OKLAHOMA CITY :
- Oklahoma City (OKC) is the capital and the largest city of Oklahoma state. It is home to a population of 655,057 people. The city has witnessed enormous economic diversification and by 2016 it had a Gross Metropolitan Product of $73.8 billion. The city has been growing at a rapid rate.
- Moore Norman Technological Centre, Oklahoma City – offers a short-term class in plumbing codes. This is in accordance with Oklahoma statutes. Students receive 6 hours of continuing education during each code cycle in order to renew their license. This course also satisfies the CIB criteria for licensed journeymen and contractors. The tuition cost is $79.
- Plumbers and Pipefitters Training Centre, Oklahoma City – they offer a joint training and apprenticeship program.
- Plumbers and Pipefitter Local 344, Oklahoma City – offers an apprenticeship program in plumbing where students are taught about all aspects related to plumbing from installation to safety codes and blueprint reading.
BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN TULSA:
- Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma with a population of 401,190 people. Today Tulsa has an extremely diversified economy and the primary employers are small and medium size businesses.
- Tulsa Technological Centre, Tulsa – offers a dozen courses is specialised education. They offer a number of plumbing courses that fall under categories of “licensing prep” and “continuing education”. This trade school offer part-time classes in plumbing.
- Tulsa Welding School, Tulsa – offers a course on welding and plumbing that allows students to begin a new career as a welder, plumber, pipefitter, steamfitter in a duration of 10 months. Plumber training covers blueprint reading, math, safety, piping codes and other plumbing skills.
- Tulsa Pipes Trade Training School, Tulsa – offer a five-year apprenticeship-cum-training program. The students receive an hourly wage of $13.97 at the start and are evaluated every 6 months and promoted on the basis of their performance.
BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN NORMAN:
- Norman is the third largest city in Oklahoma with 124,880 residents. Economically the city is prominent in higher education. In 2008, it was recognised at the highest ranked city to live in, in Oklahoma.
- Moore Norman Technological Centre, Norman – offers the same short-term course in plumbing codes as offered by the OKC campus. In addition, the Norman campus also offers a course titled “International Plumbing Codes”. Coursework includes theoretical topics like administration, general regulation, sanitation as well as more practical topics like water distribution and piping fixtures. The tuition fee is $215.
- A lot of trade schools also offer online vocational training courses on plumbing that interested students could consider.
There is a shortage of skilled workers in Oklahoma. But the state has witnessed a steady boom in construction related activities, as a result of which the demand for plumbers is increasing. But as of 2019, 29% of the construction-type workers were above the age of 55 and advancing towards retirement. It has been projected that 7000 openings will spring up annually in the construction (plumbers and electricians) and extraction sectors, over the next 10 years. These jobs demand some sort of education beyond that of high school but presently, only 42% of the workforce qualifies. Continuous efforts are being made to increase educational scope and promote better wages and employment opportunities in the state. According to the BLS, 142,300 new jobs will open up for plumbers and electricians at the national level by 2028. Over all the picture for the plumbing industry looks great for Oklahoma.