Are you thinking about a career as a plumber? Whether you are young and exploring options for your first real job or are already in the job market and considering switching to a better-paying career, training as a plumber can be a very smart move. However, knowing where to begin your journey isn’t always clear. This short article can help set you on the correct path to a brighter future.
The Steps For Becoming a Plumber in California
Going from zero plumbing skills to being a master plumber isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, it takes years. But knowing as much as you can about the process from the start can help you decide whether it is something that you want to pursue. The following is an overview of the steps you will have to take to become a licensed independent plumber in California.
Step One: Graduate From High School or Earn a GED
Being a great plumber is more than knowing how to install pipes and fixtures. Most of the really tough work on a job comes at the planning stage when you need to figure out how to approach the project.
Math is essential for anyone considering getting into the plumbing trade. Plumbers rely on geometry and algebra on the worksite. Quickly calculating angles, volumes, and flow rates, not to mention ensuring that the bill you give your customers is correct, requires a solid understanding of math. But don’t worry if math wasn’t your best subject in school. Throughout your training, you will get a thorough review of the critical math requirements.
If you are not a high school graduate or don’t already have a GED, you do not have to give up on your desire to be a plumber. There are options available to help you earn your GED as you learn plumbing skills.
Step Two: Receive Formal Training as a Plumber
After getting your high school diploma or equivalency, it is time to start learning the specifics of the plumbing trade. There are two common paths to becoming a plumber.
The first is finding a registered apprenticeship program with a licensed plumber and applying to join directly. You can find registered apprenticeship programs through local unions, government programs, or directly with some master plumbers. Apprentices earn wages as they learn on the job and in the classroom.
While applying for a direct apprenticeship may seem like the quickest way to get on the job site, it isn’t always the best learning method. As an apprentice, you can only learn as much as your master plumber knows and shows you. That means you may have gaps in your knowledge that can be difficult to fill in later.
On the other hand, enrolling in a trade school guarantees that you learn the latest technologies from dedicated and patient instructors. You will have the time and attention necessary to perfect the skills and knowledge you will need for your future without the pressure of pleasing a customer at a live worksite.
When you finish a certificate at plumbing school, you’ll still need to complete an apprenticeship, but you will have a solid foundation to build on. In addition, many trade schools have connections with companies that can get you a better and higher-paying apprenticeship than if you applied with no qualifications.
Step Three: Pass the Licensing Exam
After completing your formal training, apprenticeship, and spending enough time working as a plumber, it is time to prove you have what it takes to work as an independent plumber in California. Although you can continue to work under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber without a license, you’ll need to pass the C-36 Plumbing Contractor examination before you can work alone on plumbing projects that exceed $500 in labor and materials.
The Contractors State License Board administers the C-36 Plumbing Contractor multiple-question exam in California. It is a six-hour-long test with two separate sections. One part covers plumbing questions, while the other ensures you know the relevant laws relating to owning a plumbing business.
Reasons You Should Consider a Career as a Plumber
After learning about all the requirements to become an independent plumber in California, you may feel discouraged. Don’t feel that way. Yes, it may take a lot of effort and time to become a plumber, but it is well worth it. Licensed plumbers have a lot of options.
In addition to earning a good wage, plumbers develop transferrable skills that are always in demand. If you become a plumber, you will always have career stability and the flexibility that allows you to choose where you want to live and work. You can even start your own profitable business if you wish.
Between 2020 and 2030, the number of jobs for plumbers will climb by 5 percent in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Status. The average salary for plumbers in California is just over 63K a year, a salary that is 8 percent higher than what the average plumber earns nationally.
If you want a satisfying and rewarding career as a plumber in California, contact Summit College to learn how you can get started today.