HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN TEXAS

A GUIDE ON PLUMBING IN TEXAS

A study conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that there are approximately 35,300 licensed plumbers in Texas, and careers in the plumbing industry are growing by 12% across the country. Texas is located in the south- central region of the United States of America and is the second most populated state in the country. Texas itself has been growing at an astonishing rate. The state added 379,128 people in one year in July, 2018, and this is opening huge doors of opportunities for a variety of occupations. It is in this context that this article wishes to focus on plumbing in Texas, its scope and how to become a professional plumber in Texas.

The Texas flag

JOB OUTLOOK

As mentioned above there are 35,300 licensed plumbers in Texas, with a growth of 12% each year across the USA. 3.48 out of every 1000 persons are involved in the plumbing, pipefitting and steam-fitting industry. Demands for plumbing services have been expected to grow in the coming five years and industry revenue has been projected to rise at a steady rate too. The average annual salary of a plumber in Texas is $56,622. The range typically falls between $49,427 and $64,781. Also, the starting salary of a licensed plumber in Texas is about $26,000. The cities of Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio pay the highest salaries to plumbers in the state. There are a number of job openings in the plumbing sector and the demand for plumbing services can be expected to grow in the years to come. A career in plumbing has an earning potential and is likely to offer stable employment.

WHAT INSURANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PLUMBERS IN TEXAS:

In Texas, a master plumber is required to carry a General Liability Insurance with a minimum of $300,000 for a period of one year. This insurance will offer coverage for bodily injuries and damage to property. To start a plumbing business it may be useful to consider carrying Workers’ Compensation Insurance which covers the medical expenditure of employees who get hurt during the job. Usually, most union contract jobs offer higher wages and guaranteed health benefits. 

HOW TO BECOME A PLUMBER IN TEXAS

  • High School or GED Certificate
  • College Degree or Vocational Courses (Optional)
  • Apprenticeship
  • Pass the Licensing Tests

Provided here is a step by step guide on how to become a plumber in Texas:

  • The first and foremost step is to acquire a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Generally, to go for an apprenticeship or it may be beneficial to do well in classes like Math and Science.

A college degree is not a mandatory requirement for becoming a licensed plumber in Texas. But, it may contribute to the process of getting enrolled in a high-quality apprenticeship program. Technical schools and community colleges offer vocational courses that take about six months to one year to complete. These involve theoretical as well as practical training. The tuition fee for these courses range from $3,000 to $15,000.

Plumbing Training

HOW TO BECOME AN APPRENTICE PLUMBER IN TEXAS:

Most vocational schools usually provide a list of plumbers looking for apprentices. Plumber apprentices must find an employer to sponsor training. This is followed by participation in repair and installation programs that are directly supervised by a master plumber. Apprenticeship programs are offered by the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry. These programs can take up to 4 years to complete and typically include classroom training as well as paid on-the-job experience.  Apprenticeships provide comprehensive training.

HOW TO GET A PLUMBING LICENSE IN TEXAS:

After the completion of the apprenticeship program, plumbers move on to acquire a plumbing license. One cannot engage in plumbing work without a Texas plumbing license.  Anyone applying for a Texas plumbing license must be subject to a background check.

There are four kinds of plumbing licenses in Texas:

  1. Plumbers Apprentice – an apprentice does not require a license but must be registered with the state and start looking for an employer to sponsor the training. Once an apprentice gets enrolled in a training program, they participate in plumbing activities under the direct supervision of a master plumber.
  2. Tradesman Plumber – in order to apply for a tradesman license, an applicant must have a minimum of 2 years of experience in the plumbing field as an apprentice. Applying for the Texas Tradesman Plumber License is also possible if the applicant has a journeyman or master plumber license from another state. This is followed by 24 hours of Board-approved classroom training and then passing the license test. The test involves a written as well as a hands-on workshop exam. The latter focuses on designing sanitary drainage and vent systems, installing water heaters and fitting pipes. Tradesman plumbers are generally focused on residential buildings.
  3. Journeyman Plumber – this category of plumbing license requires 4 years or 8,000 hours of plumbing experience. Also, a current and valid Tradesman Limited License is required. The plumber is then required to take another exam based on 48 hours of classroom training. A journeyman plumber caters to residential and commercial properties.
  4. Master Plumber – this is the highest license level. one must be an existing journeyman plumber with 8,000 hours of certified job experience in order to acquire a Master Plumber’s License. This is followed by passing another exam that is offered by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. The exam includes 210 questions on plumbing codes, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) codes and other issues related to the field of plumbing.
The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners
Source: USgov.in

The classroom training offered at each level widens the knowledge base and prepares prospective plumbers to work at plumbing systems of residential, commercial and industrial complexes.

Having obtained these licenses, plumbers are certified to offer services to the public. They can be hired by plumbing companies or choose to become freelancers and start their own plumbing company.

A plumbing license in Texas needs to be renewed every three years. And the amount to be paid for this renewal is $111.

However, a drastic legal strife impacted the plumbing profession in Texas in 2019. As a result of this, The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners may cease to exist by the end of 2020. The abolition of the Board by the Texas Legislature has also meant the flushing out of the state plumbing code. Many cities have their local codes that build off the state codes, including the Uniform Plumbing Code developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanic Officials and the International Plumbing Code developed by the International Code Council. With the absence of a state code, licensing regulations will go back to the jurisdiction of cities and municipalities. This is similar to the situation in New York where plumbers are regulated and licensed locally.

This legislation has faced heavy criticism for having struck a massive blow to public health and safety in Texas. Not only will this mean the absence of stricter regulations, but it will also increase the number of unlicensed plumbers taking up jobs. This in turn might endanger safety and sanitation and pose a threat to the employers who now have to worry about lawsuits in case of an injury to these unprotected plumbers (in the absence of insurances). While on one hand this legislation has raised a question on the quality of plumbing services to be offered, on the other hand, it has allowed plumbers to operate freely and under comparatively lenient regulations. Under such circumstances, we must therefore be patient and wait to see if this legislation works in favour of the plumbing world in Texas.

PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN TEXAS:

Vocational training plays an essential role in the process of becoming a licensed plumber. These courses educate the students on a variety of aspects related to plumbing. This adds on to their resumes and makes it easier for them to find apprenticeship programs. This section of the article will focus on the top plumbing schools in three of the biggest cities of Texas – Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.

1. BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN HOUSTON:

Houston is the most populous city of Texas. As of 2019, the city was home to a population of approximately 2,320,268 people. Since the 20th century, the city of Houston has been growing rapidly. Houston’s economy is heavily centered on the energy industry.

(a)The most well-known school for plumbing training in Houston is the Houston Area Plumbing Joint Apprenticeship. The cost to attend schooling here is $45,000 for all 4 years. They have a skilled faculty and offer good career preparation and hands-on-training. The course length is 4 years and the candidate acquires a journeyman plumber license at the end of the course duration.

(b)Another plumbing school in Houston is the Plumbers Local 68 which offers courses in plumbing, right from the level of plumber apprentices to that of licensed journey-man plumbers. The course duration varies from 1 month to 4 years and the fee ranges between $15,000 to $30,000 depending on the course. This school has been known for its positive environment, affordable services and flexible work hours.

2. BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN SAN ANTONIO:

San Antonio is the second most populous city in Texas with a head count of 1,547,253 residents in 2019.  This city has an extremely diversified economy and is the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities of the USA.

(a)St. Philip’s College offers a fully accredited college plumbing programme. Students are trained in plumbing trade, plumbing maintenance and repair, plumbing equipment and safety, reading blueprints of pipefitting, residential and commercial construction plumbing, fixture setting etc. Students learn the basic skills to enter the plumbing industry. Apprenticeship programs conducted by the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association are also held in St. Philip’s College.

3. BEST PLUMBING SCHOOLS IN DALLAS:  

With an estimated population of 1,343,573 people, Dallas is the third largest city of Texas. As early as the 1900s, Dallas became a hub for economic activities.

(a)The Dallas Plumbers’ Union offers federally registered apprenticeship programs under the US Department of Labor. It is a fully structured 5-year program where students can learn and earn at the same time. A contractor supervises this program. The students are provided with on-the-job training as well as classroom training that enhances their industry knowledge.

Over the years, the sky-rocketing population growth in Texas has driven the demand for plumbing services to a whole new level. This is one of the industries that does not allow outsourcing and hence the plumbing industry is only expected to grow in the days to come.

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