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Confused about the time it takes to become a plumber? You’re not alone. Learning more about plumbing trade school options, the cost and time involved, is a useful investment to make before you choose.

There are so many options and paths to take. Online training can be your fast-track to employment and a rewarding career. Finally online training is finding its place in both formal and informal apprenticeship programs. Whether trade school is right for you, or if you’d like to take a different path, The Blue Collar Recruiter is at the forefront with expert-led, online plumbing training courses that you can take anytime, anywhere.

On-the-Job Training

Plumbing jobs are plentiful ~ about 49,800 openings for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are projected each year, over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. This is leading some employers to offer a learn-as-you-earn path. The increasing use of online virtual reality training schools is making it possible for employers to provide classroom time combined with in the field plumber’s helper jobs. (Contact The Blue Collar Recruiter if this appeals to you!) Let’s take a look at more traditional plumbing career paths.

Apprenticeships Defined

Many skilled trades, including plumbing, follow some sort of apprenticeship program. An apprentice is defined as someone who learns a skill set by working side by side with someone who has mastered the trade. Traditional plumbing trade schools today are not unlike the guilds of old. These formal apprenticeship programs ~ offered through colleges and vocational brick and mortar schools are supported by labor unions and trade associations that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. They typically take 4-to-5 years to gain apprenticeship status.

Apprenticeships Lead to Journeyman Plumber Status

Completing an apprenticeship allows you to become a journeyman plumber, but only if you pass a test. Most states require a journeyman’s license to legally perform the work and a master’s license to operate a business in that trade. Licensing is intended to uphold the standard of workmanship and to honor those who have put in their time to be properly trained. However, there are some alternative paths that one can follow to be successful in the industry.

How Community College Differs

Community college programs differ from traditional apprenticeships since they do not require students to be working in the field. These one-year or two-year programs can earn certificates and even Associate’s degrees. They prepare students for jobs in the industry or they can serve as a stepping stone toward higher learning. The cost of these programs is less than 4 and 5-year programs and based on your income, could be funded through Federal Financial Aid. 

Students that participate in these programs can enter into the industry immediately, to begin logging hours toward apprenticeship and licensing, or they may choose to further their education, moving into areas such as:

  •  Sales
  •  Estimating
  •  Project management
  •  System design
  •  Start a business

Many of these schools carry accreditations that allow their coursework to be transferred to four-year colleges and universities and can be applied to a Bachelor’s degree.

Facilities Maintenance, A Less Formal Path

If you wish to go into the field of facilities maintenance, you may not need a license or a college degree. These technicians apply skills from several disciplines, repairing and maintaining various building systems. Because their services are not offered to the public, they are not required to be licensed.

Skilled maintenance technicians provide tremendous value to the facility owners that employ them. They learn the ropes by working side by side with a more experienced technician or as part of a maintenance crew on their shift. They are sometimes needed around the clock to keep systems running in schools, hospitals, large residential or manufacturing facilities.

Explore your options, schedule a career consultation with The Blue Collar Recruiter & Virtual Trade School.

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