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How Long Does It Take to Become a Plumber?


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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If you’re considering a career in plumbing, one of the first questions you might ask is, “How long does it take to become a plumber?” The journey to becoming a licensed plumber involves several stages, including education, apprenticeship and certification.

This article will walk you through each step of the process in order to demonstrate the time commitment and requirements for training new plumbers.

In this article, we will cover:

  • The educational requirements for becoming a plumber
  • The duration and nature of plumbing apprenticeships
  • Certification and licensing processes
  • Factors that can influence the time it takes to become a plumber
  • Tips for accelerating the training process

How long does it take to become a plumber? This is a crucial question for both aspiring plumbers and established plumbing companies looking to hire and/or train new talent.

On average, it takes about 4-5 years to become a fully licensed plumber, but this timeline can vary based on several factors. In this blog, we will explore the different stages of becoming a plumber as well as provide insights into what influences the duration of training.

Educational Requirements​

The first step in becoming a plumber typically involves completing high school or obtaining a GED. Some high schools offer vocational training programs that include plumbing courses, which can be beneficial.

Post-secondary education isn’t always required, but many aspiring plumbers choose to attend a trade school or community college to gain foundational knowledge.

Trade Schools and Community Colleges​

  • Duration: 6 months to 2 years
  • Programs Offered: Plumbing technology, pipefitting and HVAC
  • Benefits: Provides a strong theoretical foundation and practical skills that can shorten the apprenticeship period

Plumbing Apprenticeships​

The most critical and time-consuming part of becoming a plumber is the apprenticeship. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, allowing aspiring plumbers to learn from experienced professionals while earning a wage.

What Is an Apprenticeship?​

An apprenticeship is a structured program where the apprentice works under the supervision of a licensed plumber. This period involves hands-on work and is supplemented by classroom instruction covering essential topics such as plumbing codes, safety practices and system design.

Duration of an Apprenticeship​

  • Typical Duration: 4-5 years
  • Hours Required: Approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom instruction per year
  • Key Components:
    • Installation, repair and maintenance of plumbing systems
    • Reading blueprints and technical diagrams
    • Understanding local and national plumbing codes

Certification and Licensing​

After completing an apprenticeship, the next step is obtaining certification and licensing. The requirements for certification vary by state but generally include passing an exam that tests knowledge and practical skills.

Licensing Exams​

  • Content: Plumbing codes, system design and practical skills
  • Preparation: Many apprenticeships provide preparation courses and study materials for the licensing exam
  • Duration: The time to prepare and pass the exam can vary, but most plumbers are ready within a few months after completing their apprenticeship

Factors Influencing the Time to Become a Plumber​

Several factors can influence how long it takes to become a plumber. Understanding these can help both trainees and employers manage expectations and streamline the training process.

Personal Commitment and Effort​

The level of dedication and effort put in by the apprentice plays a significant role. Those who are highly motivated and willing to put in extra hours may complete their training faster.

Availability of Apprenticeship Programs​

The availability and accessibility of apprenticeship programs can also affect the timeline. In areas with high demand for plumbers, finding an apprenticeship might be easier, allowing for a quicker start.

State Requirements​

Different states have varying requirements for training hours and certification. It’s essential to be aware of the specific regulations in your state to ensure compliance and avoid delays.

Tips for Accelerating the Training Process​

While becoming a plumber typically takes several years, there are ways to potentially shorten the timeline for new hires needing industry training.

Enroll in Vocational Training Early​

Starting vocational training in high school or immediately after can give aspiring plumbers a head start. For this reason, consider getting involved with your local high schools to spark interest in potential young talent.

Choose a Comprehensive Apprenticeship Program​

Provide an apprenticeship program that offers a balanced mix of on-the-job training as well as instruction, ensuring all necessary skills are covered efficiently.

Stay Committed and Proactive​

Encourage apprentices to stay committed to their training and seek additional learning opportunities. This proactive approach can help them progress faster.

Now You Know: How Long Does It Take to Become a Plumber?​

Becoming a plumber is a multi-year commitment involving education, hands-on training and certification.

Understanding the stages and factors influencing this timeline can help plumbing companies effectively train and support new apprentices.

When it comes to the question, “How long does it take to become a plumber?”, here are a few things to remember:

  • Average Apprenticeship Time: It typically takes 4-5 years to become a licensed plumber.
  • Education: Initial education can range from high school vocational training to 2 years at a trade school.
  • Certification: Passing the licensing exam is the final step.
  • Influencing Factors: Personal commitment, state requirements and the availability of apprenticeship programs can affect the timeline.

By understanding the process and time required to become a plumber, your plumbing company can better manage your training programs and support the development of skilled professionals in the industry.

Related: Top Plumbing Trade Shows to Attend in 2024/2025

The post How Long Does It Take to Become a Plumber? appeared first on FieldEdge.
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