Plumbing Apprenticeships: 101

Aug 10, 2022

Taking a chance on a new career can be exceptionally intimidating. However, when it comes to the trades, becoming a plumber is one of the best decisions you can make. Despite what you might think, they do much more than unclog drains. Without their expertise, our modern way of life would be impossible. So, let's leave the stereotypes behind. 

Thanks to such a high demand for great plumbers, a substantially lucrative career could be waiting for you around the corner. The choice is yours. You can work as a master plumber, journeyman plumber, or even start your own plumbing business. Whatever your career goals, plumbing gives you the time to figure things out. But what exactly do you need to get the ball rolling? 

What is an apprenticeship? 

An apprenticeship is a paid training period where you can learn and practice your skills on the job while also undergoing some classroom-based learning. They can last between 2-5 years, depending on different factors. For example, state requirements, the license you would like to acquire, and your level of knowledge and expertise. 

Such a long time might seem like a long training period before you get to work on your own. However, it's essential to keep in mind that learning the ins and outs of plumbing can be extremely laborious. A miscalculation on your part could lead to costly or even dangerous situations. An apprenticeship provides an environment to work on and expand your abilities under the supervision of an expert. 

How do you get an apprenticeship? 

A standard plumbing apprenticeship typically requires a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent and an 18-year age requirement. Vocational programs also exist for high school students under 18 to help them get ahead of the game before starting an apprenticeship. To find a program, look into trade schools in your area or research plumbing companies looking for apprentice applicants. 

Having an excellent apprenticeship experience will bring you a long way. A successful plumber needs to be organized, punctual, and have excellent problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills. Emphasize these qualities when you apply for a program. Your application should reflect that you understand what it takes to succeed and are willing to put in the work. Highlighting these characteristics will make it much more likely for apprenticeship programs to give you admit you into their program. 

What happens during your apprenticeship? 

The first year of your apprenticeship will come with many challenges. As a first-time plumbing apprentice, there are likely to be moments where you feel extremely overwhelmed. Don't let the challenging moments discourage you. As with any training program, there will be a learning

curve. Take your time to become familiar with the basics. For example, you will find a significant amount of math involved in plumbing. If you feel you need a refresher, great resources can be found on YouTube or tutoring websites. Whatever the circumstances, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. 

The most important thing to remember at the start of your apprenticeship is to push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Plumbers deal with a large variety of different situations and obstacles. Work hard to gain a clear understanding of what you will be doing on the job. Learn to identify new tools, equipment, and techniques and how to use them appropriately. Asking as many questions as you need and delivering the best results possible each day will give you a great advantage. 

Once you get to your second and third year as an apprentice, your nerves are likely to be under control. This training period will be the period where you will be tested to learn and retain the most. Don't make the mistake of pretending what's going on when you're confused. The habit of asking questions you created from the start of your first year should stay with you for the rest of your career. By the fourth and fifth years of your apprenticeship you will be much more prepared. In fact, you are likely to be at the skill level of a journeyman plumber by this time. Use your last years to get in any extra practice you may need to prepare yourself to get your license. 

These programs are designed to set you up for success. The process of going through an apprenticeship is a requirement for a reason. While it might seem long and tiresome, keeping a good attitude is vital. An open mind and learning mentality will ensure you get the most out of your training. So keep your eye on the prize. Your ultimate goal should always be to become the best plumber you can be.