Plumbing is a highly technical job. While the profession tends to raise images in our mind’s eye of a large, unattractive and overweight man who’s lacking in the hygiene department, that’s ultimately an unfair judgment. All sorts of people become plumbers, and it involves a lot more work than just snaking toilets and drains in people’s homes. It takes a lot of work to train as a plumber, and when you’re done you’ll be able to do a wide range of jobs- and there’s nothing that says you can’t keep clean in the process.
You can actually approach plumbing from a largely academic angle and be very successful. While the profession requires a lot of hands-on work, there are a lot of intellectual aspects to it all. To train as a plumber, you need to really understand a number of technical disciplines, like mathematics and chemistry. Furthermore, a lot of plumbers are self employed and prefer to run their own business, so it’s a great idea to take a few business and economics classes as well. By focusing on technical disciplines and business skills in high school, you will be in a good position once you graduate.
Of course, you can also complete a four year degree if you want, though it might not be as necessary. If you want to get working as soon as possible, it’s a better idea to enroll in a large school with vocational studies that can teach you the trade. Because you’ll be enrolled in the school, you’ll be able to take other classes as well, furthering your business education or what ever other aspect of the profession you want to learn more about. A lot of schools that offer vocational learning also offer business classes specifically designed to teach you how to run your own plumbing, electrical, or other construction and repair based business. While obviously you want to become the best plumber you can, you don’t need to be the best of the best to succeed if you understand the business aspects of it all.
Now, if you feel like you’ve learned enough from high school and you want to start working immediately, you can contact a local contractor or other construction business about interning or apprenticing with them. This will give you the opportunity to work and get paid, to learn other jobs and aspects of the business, while getting some of the most practical training you need to become a plumber. Remember that you don’t need to earn a degree to become a plumber; you just need to pass the certification. Working on job sites and learning as you go is a great way to get the skill needed to pass the exam.
You can also apprentice with your local union if you’d like, but this is a highly competitive position to break in to, with only about 1 in every 20 candidates being selected. It’s arguable that you will get a better, more focused education from them, but once again any of these paths will help you train as a plumber well enough to become certified.
James Copper is a writer for www.newcareerskills.co.uk where you can find information about changing career.