Why Become a Plumber?
Plumbers are the unsung heroes for homeowners everywhere. While there’s some routine plumbing work, homeowners usually call plumbers when there’s a messy emergency. Plumbers are responsible for handling the installation, maintenance and repair of the following:
- Water lines
- Waste and sewage systems
- Related appliances and fixtures, like toilets, sinks, faucets, washing machines and dishwashers
However, plumbing work isn’t necessarily for everyone—it’s a difficult job. Plumbers are constantly digging into the ground, working on pipes, repairing leaks, dealing with waste and using heavy equipment. Unfortunately, plumbers are susceptible to falls, burns and cuts. They’re also required to spend a lot of time out in the elements, wedging themselves into crawl spaces and finding leaks in sewage drain lines.
Despite these challenges, many people find plumbing to be a rewarding career. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a plumber, pipefitter or steamfitter in 2018 was over $53,000 per year. Even more impressive, with a master plumber certification, the most skilled plumbers in the trade can earn upwards of 80,000 per year.
Compare that to your average salary after college, including any debt, and you’ll see how quickly the numbers start adding up. Don’t be fooled, a career as a plumber is a smart choice, not a secondary one.
4 Steps to Become a Plumber in Kansas
Does becoming a plumber sound like the right career path for you? Here, we’ll illustrate how you can become a plumber in four steps:
1. Finish High School or Get Your GED
Sure, you can learn a lot about plumbing from on-the-job training. Eventually, you’ll need to complete an accredited program to become a licensed plumber. These programs will require a high school diploma or GED. With one of those under your belt, more advanced programs can ensure you have the common knowledge that’s required to become a plumber.
2. Attend a Trade School or Technical College
Plumbers need more formalized training than other trade careers. To become a plumber, you’ll need to complete a program at a trade school or technical college. By attending a trade school, you’ll be able to log the classroom hours you need to become licensed. Plus, it never hurts to have the added education on your resume when you’re hunting for a high-paying apprenticeship. The courses you complete during this phase will give you the foundation for learning more complex plumbing skills. With a technical college background, you’ll be off to a running start for the next step on your career path.
3. Complete an Apprenticeship
Do you know what an apprenticeship is? You may know what an internship is—an apprenticeship is similar with two defining characteristics: you gain real-world, on-the-job experience from industry experts, and you get paid a livable salary.
In most cases, apprenticeships last anywhere from two to five years, but the time is worth it. Unlike a four-year college degree program, you get paid while you’re learning, instead of burying yourself in debt. Once you complete your apprenticeship, you’ll have the skills to start your own plumbing company or take on a journeyman position with an existing company.
4. Pass the Kansas Plumbing Exam
In the final and most critical step to becoming a plumber, you’ll need to pass the Kansas Plumbing Exam. In Sedgwick County, Kansas, you have three different trade testing options you can complete:
- ICC: An independent testing program that provides licensing agencies information about trade professionals.
- IAPMO: The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) provides exams for journeyman plumbers and master plumbers. This test proves that you have the competency to be awarded a plumbing license.
- PROMETRIC: This exam is sponsored by the Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) for earning your journeyman and master plumber certifications.
Are You Interested in Becoming a Plumber?
At Build-Pride, we have the tools to help you start constructing your career. Whether it’s finding a GED program, a trade school, or an apprenticeship program, our career experts have the skills to guide you in the right direction. Contact us today to learn more.