Steps to Becoming a Journeyman Plumber
If you want to become a journeyman plumber, meaning you can do plumbing work on your own, without a more trained plumber supervising, it will take several years.
Most students start out in a trade school through vocational education or at a local community college. Here you can learn about construction and plumbing and get the necessary background information to become a journeyman. While trade school is not a requirement, it does provide good base knowledge before you start working.
Then you will join the United Association of Journeymen (UA). This is the plumber’s union and will allow you to find an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship can take 4 to 5 years of paid work experience.
While you are completing your apprenticeship, you also continue to learn through continuing education. Once you’ve completed both of these steps, most states require you to be licensed so you can work as a journeyman plumber without supervision. In most cases, you must have the years of experience and pass a test.
Many states require you to continue to get recertified every so often. You do this by taking continuing education courses and updating your license.
Advancing to Master Plumber
For many plumbers, once they have worked as a journeyman, gained experience over time, they want to advance to become a master plumber. This means they can act in a more supervisory role and it also means they will make more money doing their job.
Again, depending on your state you might need to take an exam to elevate your certification to master plumber.
Once you become a master plumber, you may want to specialize more. Master plumbers might choose to specialize as general plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, sprinkler fitters, or pipeliners.
As a master plumber, there are some important things you would need to know. Master plumbers should know:
- State and local levels building codes
- Handle large, complicated installations
- Possess the required equipment and tools
- Management skills to manage other plumbers under the tutelage
Check with your individual state on licensing requirements.
Become a Journeyman Plumber or Master Plumber
Becoming a journeyman plumber and then a master plumber can provide you with a lucrative and stable career. The best part is that you really dig into the learning while doing the work as an apprentice.
Once you have the experience, you’ll likely have many job opportunities. Check out our website for more journeyman job listings. You can also contact us for information about jobs in your state.