What Exactly Does a Plumber Do?
Plumbers install and repair plumbing systems that carry water, gas, sewage, and waste. They also install and repair toilets, sinks, and other fixtures.
Plumbing is a highly skilled profession that requires physical strength and agility to handle heavy equipment. It also requires strong communication skills and problem-solving abilities.
Plumbers install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems that transport water or gas to homes and businesses. They also perform maintenance on plumbing fixtures like bathtubs and toilets and appliances such as dishwashers or heating systems.
They may work for construction companies, plumbing contractors, maintenance departments, or be self-employed. They usually earn certification through a trade school, community college, or apprenticeship. They typically work full-time and travel by truck to job sites.
Duties include inspecting pipes, drains, and fixtures to identify problems with plumbing and recommending solutions for repairs. They use testing equipment to assess the status of piping and fixtures and determine if they meet code and safety regulations.
Some plumbers also perform routine maintenance on plumbing systems, such as cleaning drains and checking for leaks. They may also be required to respond to emergency calls, especially at odd hours or on weekends and holidays.
They often risk infections due to handling human waste that contains microbes. They can also be exposed to chemicals and solvents used in the plumbing industry that could be harmful if they are not stored or handled properly.
Their job duties also require them to lift and carry heavy materials, climb ladders, and work in cramped spaces and on scaffolding. They must also be physically fit to perform these tasks efficiently and safely.
Plumbers need strong technical skills, excellent troubleshooting abilities, and good communication skills to handle a variety of situations. They must be able to read and interpret blueprints, meet building codes and specifications, and stay within a specific budget and time schedule.
Plumbers can expect a steady job with some job security, but they must be prepared to work long hours and perform challenging physical labor. They must also be willing to travel and meet customers at their homes or businesses to perform services.
Plumbers perform a wide variety of tasks that require specialized training and a license. These professionals work on plumbing fixtures, pipes, and valves in both residential and commercial settings. They can also handle waste management sites and gas lines, and they may work for specialized plumbing companies or start their own businesses.
To get a job as a plumber, you need to have a high school diploma or GED certificate and an interest in the field. Most aspiring plumbers begin their careers as apprentices, learning the trade through paid training and on-the-job experience. The length of a plumber’s apprenticeship varies, but it typically takes four to five years.
During that time, you’ll learn about materials under heat and cold, how to read blueprints, basic repairs and maintenance, plumbing codes, and more. Some plumbers choose to pursue a career as engineers by completing a degree or certificate program.
Most states and localities have licensing requirements for plumbers. These qualifications can vary, but usually mandate two to five years of experience and passing an exam that tests knowledge of plumbing and local codes.
Aspiring plumbers can also enroll in an associate’s degree program to gain more specialized knowledge about the industry. You can complete a two-year program at a community college or a trade school, or you can take a shorter course at an online school.
You can also attend an apprenticeship program, which is typically four to five years long and overseen by a licensed plumber. Many unions offer these programs, and you can find one near you by searching online.
Once you’ve finished your apprenticeship, you can apply for licensure in your state. There are two types of licenses: journeyman and master. Most states require less experience and more education for journeyman plumbers than master plumbers, but each state sets its own licensing requirements.
A journeyman plumber works under the supervision of a master plumber to acquire the training and experience necessary to earn a master’s license. The master plumber can oversee the journeyman plumber and provide feedback.
Once you have completed your apprenticeship and earned a master’s license, you can begin working independently. This career is more flexible and allows you to work with different clients. It can be a rewarding and lucrative career option.