One of the best and most intensive ways to break into the plumbing field is through the completion of an apprenticeship. However, finding an available opening can be difficult and thus many aspiring plumbers opt to attend a vocational or trade school and complete their training through a plumbing program.
Trade schools and the different types of plumbing curriculum vary greatly. Some states offer comprehensive training at the high-school level leading to automatic licensure. Some programs only offer two-year programs while other schools have rigorous, expensive four-year curriculums. After you decide what options are best for your particular needs, the process for choosing a plumbing school with the right plumbing training program for you becomes easy.
In general, most high schools do not offer plumbing courses. Students interested in pursuing a career in plumbing should take courses that are relative to the field (e.g., algebra, geometry, calculus and trigonometry). Courses in drafting and design are also helpful. Other vocational schools have specialized programs that start during the freshman year.
The most important aspect of post-secondary plumbing training is accreditation. Legitimate schools will have certificates of recognition from awarding bodies or state examining boards. Verify the school’s status by checking with the accrediting body. Also, consider approval from the Better Business Bureau.
The second factor of a reputable plumbing school is a wide range of training. A plumbing career entails many different aspects that you should know when you graduate. Discuss the particular courses with an admissions representative. Ask about the graduation rate.
Consider their delivery methods and options. Online courses can be just as good as on-campus courses. However, if any school suggests it can train you solely through online correspondence and without any hands-on training from an instructor with a background in construction or engineering, you need to run the opposite direction. Plumber Trainer, a company located in Texas provides Master, Journeyman and Tradesman training for individuals and companies. The founder has over 30 years of plumbing experience.
After you graduate, what kind of qualifications (e.g., certificate, diploma, degree) will you receive? What kind of assistance do they provide to prepare you for licensure? Do they help with apprenticeships? Study your local employment market and ask employers about the requirements for your specific job.
Do not underestimate a smaller school that may also offer competitive, high-quality plumbing courses. Do not opt for the lowest cost. Instead, compare curriculums to the demands of the market.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association is a national trade organization dedicated to the advancement of the construction industry. They offer online training through webinars, virtual university and an online home study program. They also offer a four-year series of textbooks and study materials. The PHCC Educational Foundation recognizes academic excellence and awards $25,000 scholarships annually. Students should visit their website to learn about plumbing schools and training.
Deciding which plumbing school is best for you is personal. How much are you willing to pay? Is an expensive school really worth the cost? How many months (certificate or diploma) or years are you prepared to devote toward a plumbing career? Can you juggle a part-time schedule with your current job and other responsibilities?
Working as a plumber is a rewarding career. Today, students have a host of exciting options and abundant resources to help make the decision-making process easier. Speak to a licensed plumber in your area and ask them about their career path. Then, take the next step and enroll in a plumbing school.
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.