Plumbing Trade Schools and Vocational Schools in the U.S.

Plumbers install, repair and maintain residential and commercial plumbing systems. Plumbing trade and vocational schools educate and train individuals to meet industry requirements. Alternately, trade unions and affiliated organizations offer apprenticeship programs that give potential plumbers well-rounded work-study experiences.

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How to Select a Plumbing Trade School

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), plumbers normally obtain their training through apprenticeship programs or through vocation schools with local contractor affiliations. Plumbing associations, such as the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association, sponsor many apprenticeship programs and are good sources of information when choosing plumbing schools.

Plumbing trade and vocational programs should offer classroom instruction along with on-the-job training. Some topics covered plumbing programs include codes and regulations, blueprint reading, math, physics, chemistry and safety. Plumbing system design, installation and maintenance are also covered.

Apprenticeship programs provide plumbers with first-hand experience in installing all types of fixtures and systems related to piping. Apprentices learn the tools and materials used in the trade, as well as the different types and grades of pipe. An apprenticeship normally lasts 4-5 years.

An applicant must be 18 or older and possess a high-school diploma for entry into a plumbing trade or vocational school program. A physical exam and drug test may also be required for admission. Credit may be given to individuals with previous armed forces plumbing training. Any background in plumbing, woodworking or other related high school coursework can help prepare candidates for plumbing programs.

Upon graduation, students may be issued plumber technician's certificates depending on school and state practices. Many schools offer opportunities to become employed while still attending school. Internships and job placement assistance are also available at several plumbing trade and vocational schools.

Trade Schools and Vocational Schools in the U.S. by Student Enrollment

College/University Student Population Institution Type
City College of San Francisco34,8682-year, Public
St. Petersburg College26,6594-year, Public
Florida Community College at Jacksonville25,9034-year, Public
Palm Beach Community College25,1222-year, Public
Hillsborough Community College24,0372-year, Public
Macomb Community College22,9852-year, Public
Rio Hondo College20,6092-year, Public
Foothill College19,4852-year, Public
Bakersville College19,2872-year, Public
San Diego City College18,6372-year, Public
Los Angeles Trade Technical College17,4872-year, Public
Indian River State College15,3664-year, Public
Kirkwood Community College15,2412-year, Public
Daytona State College15,0304-year, Public
Santa Fe College14,7962-year, Public
Wake Technical Community College14,7472-year, Public
Jefferson Community and Technical College14,4092-year, Public
Seminole Community College14,0492-year, Public
College of the Sequoias13,4492-year, Public
Chabot College13,3982-year, Public
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