HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN PENNSYLVANIA

A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN PENNSYLVANIA

The official records provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) state there are approximately 15,540 people engaged in the plumbing sector in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and North- Eastern region of the United States of America. In 2019, Pennsylvania had a population of 12,801, 989 and is the 5th most-populous state in the USA. The state ranks 33rd among the 50 states in terms of area. Pennsylvania has a very high Gross State Product of $803 billion and ranks 6th in the nation. It also has a very high employment rate. Pennsylvania is a great place to live in. It is also abundant in water resources which means that there is a great scope awaiting the plumbing industry. In this context, this article will explore the career prospects of a plumber and offer a detailed guide on how to become a plumber in Pennsylvania.

Plumbing in Pennsylvania

JOB OUTLOOK

As mentioned above, there are about 15,540 people working as plumbers, pipe-fitters and steam-fitters in Pennsylvania. 2.65 persons people out of every 1000 people are employed in this industry. The average annual salary of a plumber in Pennsylvania is $59,900. Wages start from around $30,366 and can go up to $92,996. The range of wages is determined by the educational qualifications, years of experience and level of plumbers. On an average, apprentice plumbers earn around $15.85 per hour. Plumbers enjoy an average hourly wage of $24.43. Journeyman plumbers enjoy a wage of $24.57 per hour. Master plumbers can earn up to $39. The cities of Philadelphia, Reading and Allentown pay the highest wages to plumbers in this state.  As per reports, the plumbing Industry in USA is growing at a steady rate of 16% which means that this industry will successfully contribute to the nation’s revenue generation in the days to come. Plumbers are also in high demand in this state. The picture therefore looks positive for the plumbing profession in Pennsylvania.

WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN PENNSYLVANIA?

Insurance protects plumbers from all unnecessary expenses resulting from injuries, accidents or financial losses. Having an insurance is as important as having a license. It is mandatory for all plumbers in Pennsylvania to be insured. The policies for annual premiums can run anywhere from between $671 to $1740. The type of coverage that one opts for, usually depends on individual jurisdiction. The level of licensing and nature of plumbing work performed are also important determinants in this decision. Plumbers can choose to tailor these policies depending on their requirements. One must consider getting the general liability insurance that offers overall protection against all types of financial losses. Plumbers working with employees should also get the workers’ compensation insurance that covers the medical expenses of employees who have missed work due to an illness or injury that is caused while on work. There are various other types of insurances that plumbers could look into depending on their needs.

Insurance

HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN PENNSYLVANIA

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • High School or GED Certificate
  • College Degree or Vocational Courses (optional)
  • Complete an apprenticeship
  • Pass the Licensing Tests

Provided here is a step by step guide on how to become a plumber in Pennsylvania.

HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN PENNSYLVANIA

The first step towards becoming a licensed plumber in the state of Pennsylvania is to complete an apprenticeship program. Apprentice training programs are in high demand in this state. One must possess a high school diploma or GED to apply for an apprenticeship. These are earn-while-you-learn programs. Apprentices must complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 224 hours of classroom training. On the completion of this program, they can apply for the journeyman plumbing license.

HOW TO BECOME A LICENSED PLUMBER IN PENNSYLVANIA

There are two kinds of plumbing licenses in this state:

  • Journeyman plumber license
  • Master plumber license

How to become a licensed journeyman plumber in Pennsylvania

One must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or GED and complete an apprentice training program before applying for the journeyman license.

Certain jurisdictions may also ask the candidate to take an exam and provide proof of the driving license.

Journeyman plumbers must also complete 4 years of on-the-job and 576 hours of classroom training. They can perform plumbing tasks like pipe repairs, fixture installations, pipe modifications etc.

A professional plumber

How to become a licensed master plumber in Pennsylvania

One must be at least 21 years old, possess a high school degree, complete and apprenticeship and work as a journeyman for one year before applying for the master plumber license. Candidates are also required to pass an examination in order to acquire their licenses.  One must register for the exam 45 days in advance, pay the required fees and provide proof of work experience. The fee for licensing and taking the exam ranges from $65 to $85 and depends from one jurisdiction to another. Master plumbers can design, construct, install and modify pipes.

The license renewal policies in Pennsylvania are different in every district. One has to contact the local offices for further details.

PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN PENNSYLVANIA

It is not mandatory to enrol in a vocational plumbing program in order to become a licensed plumber in Pennsylvania. However, these courses are in high demand since they add to the knowledge base of plumbers. They also act as an additional qualification which makes it easier to secure apprenticeships and employment. This section will look into some of the plumbing schools in Pennsylvania that we think are best suited for those wishing to take up this trade.

Plumbing training

  1. Orleans Technical College, Philadelphia – is an adult education school that offers a hands-on career training program in plumbing and heating. The diploma course takes 6 to 13 months for completion and by the end of the course, students are equipped with all skills that employers look for. They learn how to work on gas, oil, electrical heating, plumbing systems, furnaces etc. Applicants must have a high school diploma or a GED and a valid driver’s license. 
  2. Pennco Tech, Bristol – also offers a hands-on training program in plumbing and heating technology that prepares students for instant employment after graduation. Students learn about all types of plumbing and heating related work in residential, commercial and industrial applications.
  3. Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School, Bethlehem – offers an online course in plumbing. The coursework allows students to learn about assembling, installing and repairing piping systems that carry water, steam, air or other liquids and gases. A detailed summary about the course can be found on the website.
  4. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Lancaster – offers a quick up-skilling course in Facility Maintenance. Students learn about mathematics, blueprint reading, rough-ins and fixtures in plumbing. In addition to plumbing, students also learn about carpentry, HVAC, electrical systems etc. It is a 24-week program.
  5. Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, Schnecksville – offers a high priority occupation program in plumbing and heating. Students learn about basic as well as advanced skills in plumbing. They also learn about repair, installation, soldering, pipe-fitting etc. it enables students to study in a technology-rich environment.

There are a number of other schools that offer plumbing courses for interested students to look into.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an economic disruption in all sectors, including the construction industry. Pennsylvania went into lockdown and a complete shutdown of several offices. However, industries like plumbing continued their physical operations. Plumbing has also been declared as an essential service which means that plumbers must continue to offer their services even amidst the pandemic. Several plumbing agencies have also reported that the volume of calls received by them has also increased. More people are staying at home and more attention is being paid to plumbing systems than ever. This has put a lot of responsibility on the plumbers of the state to respond with promptness. Companies are also taking up a multi-tiered approach to protect the health and safety of their technicians as well as clients. Plumbers have also diversified their services and are also offering online consultations. The plumbing industry in Pennsylvania is also expected to grow at a steady rate.

A plumber at work

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