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More than just a profession, plumbing consists of an extremely useful set of skills that are highly valued in society. Like a good doctor or a good lawyer, everybody wants to know a good plumber. The work of a good plumber’s not only lucrative but also extremely helpful, making it truly rewarding. One of the reasons it’s such a highly demanded profession is that it’s not easy to become a truly competent plumber. Before becoming licensed and getting their first full-paid job, you will be required to finish a plumbing apprenticeship. Here are the three best ways to do it.

plumbing wrenches on a pipe

Three Tips for Easily Obtaining a Plumbing Apprenticeship

#1. Apply for a Local Union Program

Because it’s such a stable and secure profession, plumbing has become unionized in most developed cities in the world. This results in many advantages for people who want to become plumbers, including guided programs for professional development. In most unions, there are various modalities of such programs, including apprenticeships. Offering direct professional guidance, these apprenticeships are managed by the union itself. For that reason, going through the local plumbing union is one of the most common ways you can get into an apprenticeship program.

Local union programs are the most direct way to get a foot in the door or the plumbing industry. Entering a local union program is a direct way to meet seasoned professionals and become connected. They usually pair apprentices with licensed journeymen or master plumbers for direct, hands-on learning. Most union programs also provide in-house teaching, using components of both classroom and personal nature to educate students. This provides a well-rounded and comprehensive learning experience that focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of plumbing. It also means there will be no need to enroll in a local community college to complete coursework.

Naturally, there are various requirements to obtain a plumbing apprenticeship at a local union. While each union has its own, the most common ones are:

• Being at least 18 years of age.
• Having a High School Graduate or GED Certification.
• Presenting a social security card.
• Taking an aptitude test that may include: Algebra, geometry, physics, English and reading/writing.
• Taking a physical test to prove ability to perform basic plumbing tasks.
• Going through a personal interview with high-ranking members of the union.

Most people know that unions welcome as many people as possible. On the other hand, they do not have enough positions on their apprenticeship programs.

#2. Get a Direct Apprenticeship with a Licenced Plumber

a plumber working on the site

While union apprenticeships have advantages, they tend to pay less than companies. In the Unites States, the average salary for apprentice plumbers working for private companies is 13.46 dollars per hour. That is one of the main reasons why many prefer a direct apprenticeship with a licensed plumber or plumbing company. They also provide the apprentice with direct insight into the commercial and private aspects of the business. Although it represents a lot more effort, enrolling in an apprenticeship by a good plumbing company often means securing a working position for later on.

While being an apprentice for a good plumbing company is ideal, there’s usually fierce competition for any type of apprenticeship position that’s open. Most likely you will have to leave your resume in many places before receiving a callback. However, even if they are not hiring at the moment, you can leave a resume for when they are. To this effect, it’s very important to have a clean and complete resume. Along with general accomplishments, it should list any type of plumbing experience. Although any kind of knowledge is helpful to get the position, you should never make things up or fake experience that you do not have. Companies would rather have an earnest, hard-working apprentice without any experience than someone who tries to lie their way to the top.

#3. Get Plumbing Training at a Trade School

In today’s competitive market, there’s a good chance none of the previous methods work for you. However, you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Trade schools have been gaining popularity over the last decade, mainly because of their reduced cost and abbreviated length. There are many trade schools that offer plumbing courses, giving students a strong competitive advantage over other applicants for union and non-union apprenticeships. They provide an effective headstart on coursework that will significantly reduce the number of classroom hours in any future plumbing apprenticeship. At the same time, a trade school certificate is a valuable credential that is sure to impress any union or company.

Most trade school programs for plumbing offer courses that last up to two years. Designed to cover as much ground as possible in a short time, these are comprehensive plumbing courses that most people can afford. Designed to provide a well-rounded understanding of the craft, trade school programs focus on the practical side of plumbing, preparing students for a number of potential real-life situations. They teach everything from the basics of plumbing to advanced techniques and different specialties.

Enrolling in a trade school for plumbing will give a stronger competitive edge to your resume. At the same time, it will provide you with a solid base of knowledge. This will make any type of future plumbing apprenticeship much easier. By allowing you to master basic plumbing knowledge, trade schools ensure you will stand out when being considered for actual apprenticeships.

Bottom Line

We can conclude that obtaining a plumbing apprenticeship is a matter of hard work and effort. Although there may be other ways, applying any of the three methods presented ensures being taken seriously by important professionals in the plumbing industry. For centuries, apprenticeships are a tried and true way to enter any industry. In fact, one of the most important functions of trade schools, unions and companies has always been the education of new experts in different professional areas. By going through any of these avenues, you will get a valuable education that will make you a true plumbing professional.

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