What Is a Plumber?


Whether you are looking to install new plumbing fixtures or repair existing ones, plumbers are skilled professionals who know how to connect and repair things like water and drainage pipes, bathtubs and toilets. Many plumbers have apprenticeships that last from four to five years and include 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training, as well as classroom instruction on local codes and regulations, blueprint reading and safety. Those who choose to work independently have to pass a state licensing exam.

In addition to being proficient at using a variety of hand tools, plumbers need to have good critical thinking skills and the ability to weigh options for solving problems. They also need to be able to communicate with customers, clearly explaining the nature of the problem and how it will be solved. Because plumbers work in cramped and wet conditions, they need to be physically strong as well.

Plumbers are in demand across the country, as homeowners and businesses deal with everything from leaky faucets to major pipe repairs. As a result, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for plumbers will grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

What Is a Plumber?

The main route to becoming a plumber is through an apprenticeship, either with a union or trade organization or with a private employer. Some college programs also offer certificate courses in plumbing. However, you should check the qualifications in your area because state and city licensing requirements vary. You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on construction sites, too.

Once you have completed the apprenticeship, you will need to be a journeyman plumber for a certain number of years before you can apply for a master plumber license. Some plumbers also take additional training to specialise in areas such as sanitary plumbing or plumbing for high-rise residential buildings.

A plumber who works for a large corporation or government agency may have the added responsibility of mentoring junior employees or taking on supervisory roles. Other plumbers may run their own plumbing business or provide consultancy services to clients. Some even become teachers, presenting seminars on topics such as plumbing code requirements and installation techniques.

A home inspection for plumbing is an excellent idea before buying an older house or a property with signs of plumbing issues. Not only does this allow the purchaser to see what they are getting into, but it can also help identify potential problems that can be addressed before they become more serious and costly. Many plumbers offer this service, which is usually advertised in the local classifieds or online. A professional can evaluate a home’s plumbing system, including all fixtures and appliances, to determine the condition of the pipes and systems. They can then give the homeowner an estimate for any necessary work. Some plumbers may charge an hourly rate while others might quote a flat fee for the entire job. Some plumbers belong to unions, which negotiate wages and benefits on their behalf.

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