ALL ABOUT PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIPS IN USA
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 70,000 job openings are about to spring up in the plumbing sector by the year 2028. It is definitely worth the time to grant some more thought and consideration to adopting plumbing as a career. With the world undergoing a considerable shortage of skilled trade, the demand for plumbers and their earning potential could increase exponentially in the days to come. Plumbers take on some incredibly complicated work and offer themselves in the service of public health and safety. Plumbers today have some of the best-paid and all-round trade jobs. But just like any other profession that ensures a well-paying and secured job, it takes a lot of hard work, patience and dedication to become a plumber. An apprenticeship is one of the most crucial steps in the path of becoming a plumber.
In this article we will cover everything that one needs to know about plumbing apprenticeships is the USA:
What is a PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIP?
The first step after acquiring a high school degree or completing a vocational course in plumbing (optional), is to look for an apprenticeship program in the trade. It is imperative to get enrolled in an apprenticeship program before taking the final plumbing state license exam. An apprenticeship is a learn-while-you-earn program that arms amateurs with knowledge about the trade while simultaneously allowing them to earn a living. In this program, the apprentices work alongside a master plumber. The coursework includes a structured curriculum in a classroom setting as well as practical and on-the-job training. Typically, the amount of money that plumber apprentices earn, keeps increasing with the amount of skills they acquire. After the completion of this program and the passing of the license exam, the apprentices go on to earn the full wages of a skilled and professional plumber.
In the classroom training, apprentices are taught about the theoretical concepts of plumbing, blueprint reading, state plumbing codes, industry rules, OSHA safety, drafting, pipe-fitting etc. Coursework in these training programmes covers a vast range of topics: plumbing theory, pipe cutting and soldering, water hydraulics, water heating systems, draining and venting systems, distribution systems, electrical basics, local plumbing codes and advanced plumbing. These courses involve the full schedule of a journey-man plumber. Through this course, the apprentices also learn a range of immensely valuable soft skills like how to improve their interactive, communication and problem-solving skills. These are time-tested employee training systems through which the apprentices gain job-related skills as well as structured and in-depth industry knowledge.
HOW TO FIND A PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM?
These programs are conducted by private companies or local trade and technical schools. They may even be governed by local plumber unions. Each union will have its own requirements and guidelines. Legitimate and routine apprenticeships are offered by The United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, and HVAC Service Techs. Plumbing apprenticeships usually require a high school diploma or an equivalent. The application process varies but most applicants are required to take an aptitude test in math or science, followed by an interview in case of a more specific and formal program. Plumbing companies can be contacted to inquire about apprenticeships. There is enormous competition going on at all times in order to acquire a high-quality apprenticeship program. Some previous education in plumbing or a letter of recommendation can make an applicant’s resume stand out in a crowd.
Word of mouth suggestions often lead to good results in looking for apprenticeship programs as well.
The military also provides an opportunity through its military training programs to become a plumber. These usually involve a 9-week basic training program for interested soldiers. Before getting started with an apprenticeship program, an apprentice must have gear and a basic kit of standard equipment. The basic equipment includes; pipe-cutters, pipe wrenches, pliers, tape measures, utility knife, adjustable wrench, torpedo level, multi-bit screwdriver, hammers, permanent markers, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) etc.
HOW LONG IS A PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIP?
According to the BLS, most apprenticeships offer 1,700-2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 246 hours of classroom training. This means that these apprenticeships last for about 2-5 years, based on state rules and previous experience or qualifications. This may initially seem to be a long time but plumbing apprenticeships are relatively more flexible than other career paths. The courses are set up in an alternating manner so that they do not clash with the work schedule. The apprentices also may earn a salary throughout the learning period.
WHAT IS NEXT?
After finishing the apprenticeship program, the next step is to acquire a license. In some cases, the last step of the apprenticeship program itself is to pass the license exam. Most apprenticeships take care of the education and experience requirements necessary to take the license exam. Each state may have certain differences in the licensing requirements. An application must be submitted to the state’s Plumbing Division before an apprentice is allowed to sign up for the journey-man exam.
After passing the exam, plumbers acquire a license which allows them to carry out their trade independently and lawfully. Licensed plumbers can keep enhancing their skills and move up the ladder to become master plumbers.
BEST PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS IN USA:
Provided below is a list of plumbing apprenticeship programs that are ranked very highly:
- JCM Associates, Washington DC – Plumber apprentices are hired in full time year-round projects at commercial mechanical construction projects. The coursework covers a vast list of classes from renovation to design building. The apprentices work alongside licensed plumbers or supervisors and perform a number of functions related to plumbing to ensure the delivery of safe services. The monetary benefits are rewarding too and include bonus, paid holidays as well as insurance.
- PHCC Educational Foundation – the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association offers a number of apprenticeship and technical training programs. These programs aim to produce a well-qualified and highly skilled workforce to contribute to the betterment of the industry. Some of the programs offered by the them are:
- PHCC Academy Online Plumbing and HVAC Apprenticeship
- Plumbing Assessment Test
- Instructor Resources
- Apprentice Textbooks and Simulation Training
- Fast track to Service Plumbing
- Charlie’s Plumbing, Houston – As a 40-year old industrial and commercial company with a solid reputation in plumbing, Charlie’s Plumbing offers full-time employment to apprentices and tradesman plumbers to aid them in polishing their mechanical skills to eventually offer commercial services. It is a great option for those in Houston.
- TD Industries, Denver – Established in 1946, TD Industries has emerged as one of America’s premier mechanical construction and facility services. The apprenticeship program offered by this organisation is a full-time job. It is well-known as an employee friendly organisation, committed to the personal and professional upliftment of its employees. TD Industries seek employees with a high school diploma or GED and ones having basic math skills. Referrals play a critical role in getting shortlisted in this organization.
- MTech Mechanical, Westminster – The training program is divided between four categories of apprentices. As the levels go higher up, so do the responsibilities and the years of experience. The applicants must be 18 years of age. Progress happens through the trade. The apprentices learn various aspects of plumbing like heating and cooling, repair, installation, drafting, safety codes, mechanical standards etc in the course of this full-time employment.
- Mission Plumbing Heating and Cooling, Kansas City – This organisation seeks HVAC/plumber apprentices with a basic aptitude and drive in the field. Top wages, paid holidays, insurance and vacations are offered to the apprentices. The apprentices work alongside experienced technicians and benefit from continuous in-house training.
- Emergency Plumbing Service, Dallas-Fort Worth – Well-known service providers in the field for about 30 years now, this organisation offers apprenticeship programs. Apprentices receive 4 years of training spread over 8,000 hours. The knowledge and experience received through this program prepares the apprentices to become journeyman plumbers.
- J&S Mechanical Contractors, Las Vegas – The apprentices learn to study building plans, assemble, install and repair pipes, fittings and fixtures of heating, water and drainage systems, according to specifications and plumbing codes. It is recommended that the apprentices have the basic tools of plumbing before applying to this program.
- Four Seasons Plumbing and Sewers, Chicago – Apprentices learn a range of basic skills related to plumbing. Responsibilities include the implementation of safe processes, maintenance of plumbing systems, trouble-shooting, provide supplies and equipment and recommend the improvements that are needed. This program has great earning potential. It offers bonus to the apprentices in addition to regular wages.
- The Waterworks, Ohio – The Waterworks are Ohio’s primary and largest full-service plumbing and drainage company. They have a fully-accredited, in-house and on-site program. A 4-year program is offered wherein the apprentices receive on-the-job training in addition to instructional classes. The program trains the plumbers and furnishes them with the skillset required to take the National Standard Journeyman Plumber Exam. This is followed by the acquisition of the plumber’s license. It is mandatory for the applicants of this program to have a valid driver’s license. This program in addition to remunerative benefits, also provides beneficial opportunities for community involvement.
PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIP SALARY:
The salary range usually falls between $29,986 and $41,300. As of October 2020, the average salary of an apprentice plumber is the USA was $36,509. Though, The salary range varies depending on the qualifications and years of experience. Plumbers are ranked #3 in the list of Best Construction Jobs. According to the BLS, employment is also likely to increase by 4% in the next 10 years.
Entering the plumbing industry therefore remains a lucrative career option. Not only do apprenticeship programs offer a great deal to contractors, they also offer great opportunities to young people who are interested in building a career in plumbing. Enrolling in an apprenticeship program is a smart path to building a solid and financially stable career. Not only do apprentices get to an opportunity of earning while learning, this also allows them to set themselves up for a life of work in a high-demand field with a substantial income potential.