Venturing to become a plumber can lead to a gratifying and high-demand career. Plumbers are crucial in maintaining and repairing essential plumbing systems that ensure the seamless operation of our residences and businesses. The plumbing industry significantly contributes to the economy, with billions of dollars spent annually on plumbing services and products. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to experience rapid growth within the next decade due to the ongoing need for infrastructure maintenance and modern construction. 


Studies emphasized that even a seemingly minor issue like a leaky faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water annually, underscoring the importance of proficient plumbing practices. Our extensive guide offers a step-by-step directory on how to become a plumber, master the craft, and understand the vital insurance requirements that can contribute to augmented income within the field. 

Who is a Plumber

Suppose you hold a deep admiration for how to become a plumber. In that case, it’s crucial to grasp that a plumber is a skilled specialist with expertise in installing, upkeeping, and repairing diverse plumbing systems. These proficient individuals play a critical role in maintaining the seamless functionality of water, gas, and drainage systems across residential, commercial, and industrial contexts. The role of plumbers is pivotal in ensuring these indispensable systems’ operational efficiency and safety.

Principal Duties of a Plumber

Plumbers shoulder a broad spectrum of pivotal duties, each contributing to the unobstructed operation of plumbing systems. These responsibilities encompass:


Installation and Maintenance of Systems: Plumbers possess the proficiency to install and maintain various plumbing systems, encompassing water supply, drainage, and gas lines. This ensures a consistent water flow and efficient drainage mechanism.


Detection and Rectification of Leaks: A core aspect of a plumber’s role is identifying and rectifying leaks in pipes and fixtures. Their sharp observational skills and adept problem-solving abilities contribute to preventing water wastage and property damage.


Repair and Replacement of Components: Plumbers excel in repairing or replacing worn-out or malfunctioning plumbing components, such as faucets, valves, and pipes. This meticulous approach guarantees the proper functioning of the entire system.


Adherence to Codes: Plumbers are well-versed in plumbing codes and regulations, ensuring that all installations and repairs align with safety and legal benchmarks.


Collaboration with Other Professionals: If you are wondering how do I become a plumber, in larger projects, plumbers collaborate harmoniously with architects, contractors, and other experts to seamlessly integrate plumbing systems within the overarching infrastructure.


Emergency Repairs: Plumbers promptly respond to emergency calls concerning burst pipes, leaks, and other urgent plumbing crises. Their swift intervention mitigates potential damages and ensures swift remedies.


Client Guidance: Plumbers often offer valuable advice to clients regarding proper maintenance practices. This guidance extends the longevity of plumbing systems and preemptively averts potential future issues.

How To Become a Plumber

Should you possess a genuine inclination toward how to become a master plumber, you are delving into a field that not only carries essential significance but also boasts remarkable demand. According to recent labor market data, the demand for skilled plumbing professionals is projected to grow higher than the average for all occupations, underscoring the industry’s vitality. 


Plumbing experts are key in upkeeping, rectifying, and installing crucial systems that ensure the efficient functioning of our homes and commercial establishments. For instance, a significant percentage of residential water consumption, up to 30%, can be attributed to plumbing leaks, reinforcing the critical role of plumbers in conserving this precious resource. To tread the path for those keen on how to become a plumber, it is prudent to heed these actionable steps:

Educational Requirements

Earning a high school diploma or equivalent is the first stepping stone toward becoming a successful plumber. This level of education equips aspiring plumbers with fundamental communication, mathematics, and problem-solving skills, all of which form the basis of a rewarding plumbing career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 90% of plumbers held a high school diploma or equivalent in 2020. This highlights the importance of this foundational education in the plumbing industry.

Develop Essential Skills

Plumbers rely on various skills to excel in their profession, including a strong aptitude for mathematics and science. Mastery of these subjects is crucial as plumbers regularly perform calculations for pipe measurements, water pressure, and other intricate aspects of plumbing systems. Moreover, the ability to tackle unforeseen issues is pivotal in plumbing. Plumbing systems are often complex, so plumbers must exhibit exceptional problem-solving skills to diagnose problems accurately and devise practical solutions. Physical stamina is also necessary, given that plumbing tasks frequently demand heavy lifting, working in confined spaces, and standing for prolonged periods.

Complete a Plumbing Apprenticeship

Embarking on a plumbing apprenticeship is a standard route to becoming a certified plumber. These apprenticeships offer a well-rounded approach to learning, combining hands-on training with classroom instruction. Typically spanning 4 to 5 years, apprenticeships provide aspiring plumbers with practical experience under the guidance of experienced professionals. The hands-on training aspect of apprenticeships is invaluable, allowing apprentices to hone their skills while working on plumbing projects. Apprentices also attend classroom sessions to learn about plumbing theory, codes, and regulations. This combination of practical experience and theoretical learning equips apprentices with a well-rounded understanding of the field, preparing them for a successful plumbing career.

Gain Licensure

You should know how to become a licensed plumber by securing a plumbing license that is crucial to establishing oneself as an independent and reputable plumber. Licensing requirements vary by location and are often governed by local plumbing boards. These requirements generally encompass passing an exam that evaluates an individual’s knowledge of plumbing codes, regulations, and practices. The National and International Plumbing Codes are widely used references in the plumbing industry. Adhering to these codes ensures the safety and integrity of plumbing systems. Obtaining a license showcases a plumber’s commitment to professionalism and compliance with industry standards.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is essential in the ever-evolving field of plumbing. New technologies, materials, and techniques regularly emerge, shaping how plumbing systems are designed and maintained. Participating in ongoing educational programs allows plumbers to stay updated with these advancements, enhancing their skill set and marketability. Additionally, certain jurisdictions require licensed plumbers to complete a designated number of continuing education hours to renew their licenses. This emphasizes the industry’s dedication to maintaining high standards and adapting to changes in plumbing practices.

Build Experience

Building experience is an integral part of a plumber’s journey. Starting as an apprentice and gradually progressing to more complex tasks helps plumbers develop a comprehensive understanding of various plumbing systems and scenarios. With time, experienced plumbers can take on leadership roles, oversee projects, and mentor apprentices. This progression benefits individual plumbers and contributes to the plumbing industry’s overall growth and professionalism.

How To Become a Plumber Apprentice

Starting a career on how to become a plumber apprentice is a multifaceted journey that encompasses educational requirements, meticulous research, and a commitment to mastering the intricacies of plumbing systems. A fundamental stepping stone is meeting the educational prerequisites. This academic requirement underscores the importance of essential communication, mathematics, and problem-solving skills, which form the bedrock of a successful plumbing career. By fulfilling this requirement, aspiring apprentices demonstrate their readiness to delve into the technical aspects of the plumbing trade, setting the stage for comprehensive learning.


Once the educational foundation is established, the research phase takes center stage. Various entities, including unions, trade associations, and plumbing companies, sponsor plumbing apprenticeships. These programs are designed to offer a structured curriculum that combines both classroom education and hands-on training. Researching various apprenticeship programs allows potential apprentices to identify the one that best aligns with their aspirations and career goals. 


The BLS emphasizes that apprenticeships provide a structured framework for learning, enabling individuals to develop the practical skills and theoretical knowledge necessary for a successful plumbing career. The application process is a crucial gateway to plumbing apprenticeships. Competition for these programs remains robust as the demand for skilled plumbing professionals rises. According to industry data, plumbing is projected to experience a faster-than-average job growth rate, underscoring the need for well-trained plumbers. Submitting a meticulously crafted application becomes imperative to stand out in the selection process. 


Beyond academic achievements, showcasing relevant coursework, prior experience, or acquired skills can make you a promising candidate. In addition to written applications, entrance exams may be a requirement for some apprenticeship programs. The BLS notes that these exams evaluate applicants’ aptitude for the trade, often encompassing mathematical proficiency, problem-solving ability, and mechanical comprehension. Excelling in these assessments can solidify your candidacy and demonstrate your readiness to tackle the complexities of plumbing work.


To know more about how to get into plumbing, interviews may provide a platform to showcase your commitment and enthusiasm for plumbing. Interviews offer a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your passion, willingness to learn, and ability to collaborate as part of a team. Adequate preparation for these interviews ensures that you convey your dedication to the trade and your aspiration to embark on a successful plumbing career. Upon successfully navigating the application and selection process, you step into the realm of the apprenticeship itself—a transformative learning experience that combines hands-on training with classroom education.


Apprenticeships often span several years, during which apprentices gain practical experience by working alongside seasoned plumbers. The BLS highlights that these programs provide a unique opportunity for apprentices to earn a wage while learning the trade. This immersive learning environment is indispensable for honing skills, from installing and repairing pipes to troubleshooting complex plumbing systems.


Complementing this hands-on education, classroom training provides a theoretical understanding of plumbing codes, regulations, safety protocols, and system fundamentals. The synthesis of practical experience and theoretical knowledge equips apprentices with a well-rounded skill set, positioning them for success in real-world plumbing scenarios.

How To Become a Licensed Plumber

Becoming a licensed plumber is the culmination of rigorous training, experience, and a commitment to maintaining the safety and functionality of plumbing systems. Attaining a plumbing license signifies your expertise and adherence to industry standards. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to become a licensed plumber:

Complete an Apprenticeship

Becoming a licensed plumber begins with a solid foundation, typically established through a comprehensive plumbing apprenticeship. These apprenticeships, which generally span 4 to 5 years, are a crucial learning experience. During this period, you’ll gain hands-on training under the guidance of experienced plumbers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights that apprenticeships provide a structured curriculum that combines practical work with classroom education. This blend ensures that aspiring plumbers not only develop practical skills but also gain a deep understanding of plumbing theory, codes, and safety practices.

Gain Experience

Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of plumbing. You’ll work alongside seasoned professionals, participating in various tasks that encompass the full spectrum of plumbing work. Whether you’re installing pipes, repairing fixtures, or diagnosing complex system issues, each task contributes to your growing expertise. The BLS emphasizes that this hands-on experience is the cornerstone of your journey. It not only cultivates technical skills but also builds the confidence needed to excel in the field. With every project you tackle, you’re honing your problem-solving abilities and becoming better equipped to address the diverse challenges plumbers encounter.

Fulfill Apprenticeship Requirements

The next step in how to get into plumbing is meeting the apprenticeship requirements mandated by your state or local plumbing board. These requirements typically involve accumulating a specific number of apprenticeship hours. According to the BLS, the exact number of required hours can vary, but it often falls within the range of 8,000 to 10,000 hours. This extensive commitment demonstrates your dedication to mastering the trade and provides you with the hands-on experience necessary for a successful plumbing career.

Research Licensing Requirements

Licensing requirements for plumbers vary by location. It’s imperative to research your state’s regulations to gain a clear understanding of the prerequisites for obtaining a plumbing license. The licensing process ensures that you’re well-versed in local plumbing codes, safety practices, and industry standards. According to the BLS, some states might require completion of an approved apprenticeship, while others might have additional prerequisites, such as specific coursework or qualifications.

Pass the Licensing Exam

Passing the licensing exam is a key step in your journey to becoming a licensed plumber. This exam evaluates your knowledge of plumbing codes, regulations, safety protocols, and system design. Industry references, such as the National Plumbing Code and International Plumbing Code, are often used as study materials. Excelling in this exam is a testament to your understanding of plumbing standards and principles. It showcases your capability to uphold the highest standards of quality and safety in your work.

Apply for a License

Upon completing your apprenticeship and successfully passing the licensing exam, you’re ready to apply for a plumbing license. This involves submitting an application to your state or local plumbing board, providing evidence of your completed apprenticeship, and demonstrating your exam scores. The application process underscores your commitment to professionalism and your adherence to industry standards. Your license serves as tangible proof of your expertise and dedication to the plumbing trade.

Start Your Plumbing Career

Now that you are aware of how long does it take to get a plumbing license, With your plumbing license in hand, you’re equipped to launch your career as a licensed plumber. Your comprehensive training, hands-on experience, and commitment to excellence position you as a valuable asset in the plumbing industry. Whether you choose to work for a plumbing company or venture into entrepreneurship, your license signifies your expertise and professionalism, opening doors to a fulfilling and successful career in plumbing.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Master Plumber?

Becoming a master plumber typically requires several years of education, training, and practical experience. The specific time it takes can vary based on factors such as the training program you choose, your ability to learn and apply plumbing skills, and local licensing requirements. Here’s a general outline for those curious about how long it takes to become a plumber


Step Description Estimated Timeframe
Education Complete high school diploma or equivalent. 4 years (high school duration)
Enroll in a plumbing trade school or program. 1-2 years
Apprenticeship Gain hands-on experience through an apprenticeship. 4-5 years
Licensing Obtain a journeyman plumber license (varies by location). Varies by location
Accumulate required work hours as an apprentice. Varies by jurisdiction
Apply for a master plumber license. Varies by jurisdiction
Experience Gain additional years of practical plumbing experience. 5-10 years (varies)
Continuing Education Stay updated with industry trends and codes. Ongoing

How much does it cost to become a plumber?

Looking into how to become a plumber means understanding the money you need to invest. It’s important to know how much it costs to become a plumber when you’re thinking about choosing this rewarding job. But, like with any job, there are expenses linked to the training and education needed to become an official plumber. These expenses can change depending on where you are, the kind of training you do, and any extra certificates you want to get.


Here are some facts and numbers to help answer the question of how much does it cost to become a plumber.


Aspect Estimated Cost Range
Trade School or Program $500 – $5,000 per year
Community College $1,000 – $10,000 per year
Apprenticeship Program Fees $0 – $1,000
Earnings as an Apprentice Varies (lower than regular wages)
Licensing and Exams
Journeyman Plumber License $100 – $1,000 (varies by location)
Master Plumber License $200 – $1,500 (varies by location)
Exam Fees $100 – $500 (per exam)
Tools and Equipment
Initial Tool Investment $500 – $5,000 (basic tools)
Specialty Tools Costs vary
Insurance and Bonds
– Liability Insurance $500 – $2,000 per year (varies)
– Surety Bonds $100 – $1,000 (varies by location)
Continuing Education
– Ongoing Course Costs $50 – $500 per course
Miscellaneous Expenses
– Uniforms and Safety Gear $100 – $500
– Travel and Transportation Varies
Total Estimated Cost Range $2,000 – $25,000+

Insurance Requirements for Boosting The Income of a Plumber

How to become a plumber involves not only acquiring the necessary skills but also understanding the importance of safeguarding your plumbing business with appropriate insurance coverage. In the plumbing profession, financial security and stability are paramount. To bolster your income and ensure the longevity of your plumbing enterprise, it’s crucial to have a robust insurance strategy in place. Here, we will outline key insurance policies that every plumber should consider to mitigate risks and enhance their earning potential.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance is a bedrock policy that all plumbers should have in their arsenal. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips, trips, and falls are among the leading causes of workplace injuries, accounting for approximately 15% of all accidental deaths in the construction industry. In the plumbing trade, where physical work is the norm, accidents can happen – a client might slip on a wet floor at a job site, or your work could inadvertently damage a client’s property. 


Without insurance, you could face costly legal battles and compensation claims that could severely dent your income. General liability insurance covers legal expenses, medical bills, and property repairs, allowing you to continue your work with peace of mind and an undisturbed income stream.

Professional Liability Insurance

As a plumber, not all of your work involves fixing pipes and leaks – you might also provide advice, recommendations, and consultation to your clients. Industry studies reveal that professional negligence claims are on the rise, with clients becoming more aware of their rights in seeking compensation for financial losses resulting from professional advice. Studies found that professional liability claims have increased by 33% over the last decade, highlighting the growing importance of having robust coverage. 


If a client claims that your advice led to financial losses or your work resulted in damages, this policy has your back. Even the most skilled plumbers can make mistakes, and in an industry where accuracy is paramount, a single oversight could impact your income and reputation. Professional liability insurance covers legal expenses, settlements, and judgments arising from these claims, allowing you to protect your income while focusing on delivering quality service.

Commercial Property Insurance

As you learn how do you become a plumber, your tools, equipment, and workspace are crucial assets for your plumbing business. Did you know that small businesses are more vulnerable to property damage than larger enterprises? According to the Insurance Information Institute, fire is one of the most common causes of property damage claims, affecting thousands of businesses each year. Commercial property insurance ensures that these assets are protected from risks like fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. 


Imagine a fire damaging your workshop or a break-in leading to the theft of expensive equipment – without insurance, replacing these items could be financially devastating. Commercial property insurance covers repair or replacement costs, helping you maintain your income by ensuring your business operations can continue without significant disruptions.

Commercial Auto Insurance

For plumbers who rely on vehicles for their work, commercial auto insurance is a vital safeguard. Accidents can happen on the road, and the costs of repairs, medical bills, and potential legal actions can quickly increase. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 36,000 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in recent years. 


If you or your employees are involved in an accident while driving for work purposes, commercial auto insurance covers both property damage and bodily injury costs. By securing this coverage, you’re protecting your work vehicles and shielding your income from unexpected road-related expenses.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In an industry that involves physical labor and potential risks, workers’ compensation insurance is a must. This policy financially supports your employees if they’re injured on the job. It covers medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and a portion of lost wages, all of which can significantly impact your employees’ lives and, consequently, the productivity of your business. 


By ensuring that your team is taken care of in case of workplace injuries, you maintain a positive work environment and ensure unexpected accidents don’t disrupt your income flow.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

Navigating the intricacies of insurance can be overwhelming, especially for small business owners like plumbers. A business owners policy (BOP) simplifies this process by bundling essential coverages into one package. It typically includes general liability, property insurance, and business interruption coverage. 


The general liability component protects against third-party claims, property insurance covers your business assets, and business interruption coverage helps replace lost income during periods when you can’t operate due to covered events. Opting for a BOP can be a wise choice, as it streamlines your insurance needs, provides comprehensive coverage, and ultimately bolsters your income security by safeguarding against a range of potential risks.


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