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Wondering what you should be making as a plumber? If you were in the median group of plumbing wages, you would have made $19.85 per hour in 2004. For 2004, the lowest 10 percent of plumbing wages came in at less than $11.62 per hour, the middle 50 percent came in between $15.01 to $26.67, and the highest 10 percent came in at more than $33.72 per hour.
Those who worked as pipe layers had slightly lower wages. The median wage per hour as of 2004 was $13.68 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $9.19 per hour, the middle 50 percent earning between $11.05 to $18.69 per hour, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $25.07 per hour.
If you're looking for a profession where you can learn trades skills on the job and get paid for it, the plumbing profession pays apprentice plumber wages while you learn on the job. Most of the time, apprentice plumber wages come out to be half of the wages paid to those experienced in the plumbing industry. For instance, if the average experience plumber earns $20 per hour in your area, you might expect to make $10 per hour during the first year of your apprenticeship. However, during the course of your apprenticeship, you can expect your wages will increase as your skills do. Like many jobs, after you meet the initial trial period, you'll receive benefits along with your apprentice plumber wages.
If you're interested in the plumbing field, consider plumbing design. You can find work with a Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineer firm designing plumbing systems for new construction and remodeling jobs. To get into the field of plumbing design, you should get a minimum of two years education in plumbing engineering. The range of duties you'll perform in plumbing design include the design and drafting of plumbing systems, review of shop drawings, writing specifications, and coordinating with related trades. You'll have to learn about plumbing codes as they relate to your project and you'll also learn to utilize software like AutoCad for the creation of plumbing layouts and drawings.
You'll need some form of training to become a plumber if you want to enter the profession. If you intend to work as a residential plumber, you can learn the craft through community colleges, trade schools, and on the job training. If you're interested in work as a commercial plumber, your main mode of entry is likely through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships last four to five years in length and you'll learn about the plumbing craft through job training. There are no national requirements for licensing once you've completed the training to become a plumber. However, many areas require you to acquire some form of licensing to work as a plumber.
If you're currently in the plumbing industry or thinking about entering the plumbing profession, there's good news for you. The U.S. Department of Labor says that the job outlook for plumbers is excellent. You can thank three reasons for the excellent job outlook for plumbers.
If you want to enter the plumbing profession, there are several organizations which you can refer to. The following organizations sponsor apprenticeship programs for those wanting to enter the plumbing profession.
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada – This organization has local unions which offer apprenticeship programs. (www.ua.org)
Plumbing – Heating – Cooling Contractors Association – The PHCC upholds education and training standards in the plumbing, heating, and cooling industry. For more information on their apprentice and journeyman program, go to www.phccweb.org.
National Fire Sprinkler Association – As the name suggests, this organization concentrates its efforts to promote competently installed fire sprinklers in new and existing construction. They also have an education program on fire sprinkler related topics. (www.nfsa.org)
Associated Builders and Contractors – For those interested in the plumbing aspect of the construction industry, this organization sponsors apprenticeships in over 20 construction related crafts. (www.abc.org)
Home Builders Institute of the National Association of Home Builders – If you're interested in working in the home building industry, the Home Builders Institute runs several programs, including craft skills training and a job corps. (www.nahb.org)
Yes, it's a mouthful - The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada. This plumber's union has a membership of over 300,000 people in the plumbing trade throughout the U.S. and Canada. They uphold the standards of the plumbing profession, provide wage guidelines, and set up trade training for plumbers. They also give out scholarships, hold conventions, and become active by providing career opportunities for those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
To find out more, visit their Website at http://www.ua.org. You can check out their links for a local plumber's union near you and get more information on their journeymen programs and finding plumbing jobs in your area.
If you're thinking about entering the plumbing profession, consider going through the apprenticeship route with the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.
Their program, the United Association apprenticeship, lasts five years in length and is a way to gain valuable classroom experience as well as on the job training. The United Association apprenticeship requires 1,700 to 2,000 hours of on the job training and at least 216 hours of classroom instruction. You'll advance towards becoming a journeyman through five one-year segments of plumbing apprenticeship.
As a journeyman, you'll be a full-fledged plumbing professional, but don't expect your training to end there. The United Association expects learning for the plumbing professional to be a lifelong process. You might spend the day installing the sprinkler system for a commercial building and then go to a class in the evening to learn how to use the latest edition of drafting software.
Plumbers have a large number of industries to choose work from, depending on their specialties and interests. As a plumber, you can find work in the construction industry, in the residential and commercial plumbing industry, or work for the government. Not all plumbers' earnings are the same in all industries. You'll find a wide distribution of wages depending on whom you decide to work for. These are some 2004 figures based on the U.S. Department of Labor: