A master plumber is part of an elite group of plumbers. They have achieved the highest ranking in the construction industry. In a field that is growing 26 percent faster than average, master plumbers account for a large percentage of plumbing positions in the U.S.
Master plumbers have attended a vocational or trade school, worked as a journeyman plumber and have at least five years of experience. They work with other licensed plumbers in a supervisory role and demonstrate the advanced knowledge and skill level to make decisions independently.
In order for a plumber to become a licensed master plumber, they have to pass the Master Plumber Examination that consists of 90 written multiple choice questions. According to the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, they must be currently licensed as a journeyman plumber in Texas or another state. They must have held the license for at least one year.
They must also have 8,000 hours of verifiable trade experience. They must have completed a training program approved by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. A high school diploma or GED is required and proof of U.S. citizenship or legal alien status is mandatory. The fee is $175.
The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) describes a plumber as “the plumber installs, repairs, maintains and services piping and plumbing systems and equipment used for drinking water distribution, sanitary storm water systems and waste disposal.”
A master plumber’s job description is a managerial role. He or she performs plumbing services, effectively communicates with workers and clients and oversees the work of a team. Along with top-notch abilities, he or she is expected to possess people skills and be able to communicate effectively between various clients, vendors, subcontractors and employees. They ensure business standards are achieved by educating less skilled workers and enhancing customer service. They monitor performance and give feedback and hire new plumbers. In a commercial setting, they report to the general manager.
In Texas, there are 29,980 plumbers earning $44,080. In 2013, the national statistics for a master plumber’s salary was $35,164 – $86,909. The median pay was $52,080. In San Antonio, TX, the state with the most plumbing jobs, a master plumber makes $52,000. A plumbing superintendent earns $57,000. Master plumbers are given competitive benefits packages that include paid time off, medical, dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability, life insurance and 401k retirement plan contributions.
A master plumber is expected to work overtime and on weekends. They must act as emergency 24-hour plumbers and be available on call. Wet floors, chemicals and dangerous machinery are some of the elements present in their hazardous environments. Like their team members, they work in extreme temperatures outside. They must be able to lift heavy objects of 80 lbs. or more. Ultimately, they are responsible for the overall achievement of established company objectives.
The construction industry employs over 11 million workers. Plumbers account for an estimated 601,000. With the current housing market making a recovery, master plumbers will be needed to manage new residential developments.
For more information about becoming a plumber, please visit the Plumber Career Portal of Ditch College.
If you would like to read about other jobs that do not require a four year degree, please visit our career portal.