Master Plumber: Education Requirements and Career Overview
In order to become a master plumber, candidates must complete an apprenticeship or academic training. Following several years of supervised on-the-job experience as licensed journeyman plumbers, applicants are eligible for a state-specific licensing exam.
Education Requirements for a Career as a Master Plumber
Master plumbers typically begin their careers as apprentices, usually through a plumbers' union apprenticeship program that includes classroom work. Alternatively, they may enroll in a community college certificate program or an associate degree program in plumbing and heating, plumbing technology or a related field.
Apprentices and students learn how to read and draft blueprints. They study basic physics and chemistry, workplace safety and building codes. Hands-on work teaches apprentices about identifying tools and materials, installation, maintenance, servicing components and repairing water pipes.
After completing their chosen program and developing several years of supervised work experience, plumbers may sit for their state's required journeyman plumber licensing exam. With additional on-the-job experience under the direction of a master plumber and additional classroom learning, journeyman plumbers can sit for the master plumber exam. Some states or localities may require continuing education for master plumbers, usually on new codes and regulations or energy efficiency.
Master Plumber Career Overview
Master plumbers use blueprints and tools to install, maintain, service and repair residential and commercial water systems. They may work on drainage, gas, potable water or waste systems. Installation of bathroom fixtures and appliances are also common tasks. Master plumbers may also plan water service systems and sketch blueprints.
Master plumbers may be self-employed or they may work for contractors or government entities; union membership is common. The project-based nature of the job means that a master plumber's work opportunities can fluctuate considerably.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), master plumbers can expect 16% job growth through 2018 (www.bls.gov). This is due to new construction, renovation of existing structures, and the trend toward use of energy efficient and environmentally-friendly plumbing materials, codes and practices. Plumbers earn an average annual salary of $54,000 as of July 2010, according to Indeed.com.
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