Plumbing qualifications vary by region and the number of years of experience in the industry. In most places, a minimum of a secondary school education is needed before applying as a plumber’s apprentice to begin the process of becoming licensed. Basic plumbing qualifications usually become more stringent as a plumber advances from an apprentice to a journeyman plumber. Master plumbing qualifications usually include additional experience before taking standard examinations. Some areas do not set plumbing qualifications before working in this occupation.
Licensed plumbers typically pass exams that test knowledge of plumbing codes and safety measures. Apprentices might spend several years gaining on-the-job experience before they are eligible to take tests for journeyman status. Plumbing qualifications in some areas permit a combination of experience and education through technical schools or university classes.
Journeyman plumbers gain proficiency in reading and following blueprints on large or small projects. They typically know how to install and repair various plumbing materials, including cast iron, copper, and plastic pipes. These workers typically meet guidelines in soldering and gluing fittings that connect water, gas, or sewer lines. Master plumbers commonly supervise projects to ensure workers follow all regulations and laws.
Plumbing qualifications for journeymen usually include installation of sinks, toilets, and shower stalls, which includes attaching fixtures. They learn how to install drains and traps and the physics of water pressure. Some plumbers working at this level order and track materials needed for a project.
Government agencies might impose stricter plumbing qualifications for those working with utility companies, especially gas suppliers. These plumbers commonly face hazards that require additional training and certification. Utility jobs might include installing or repairing propane lines, natural gas pipes, or petroleum conduits. Plumbers working for cities or regions might encounter sewage and other contaminated fluids.
Private plumbing companies commonly require certain skills and abilities for all levels of employment. Knowledge of power and hand tools used in the industry might be considered an asset. Plumbers use cutting tools such as power saws, pipe threaders, and other equipment in their duties. They might operate digging equipment to create trenches, along with shovels and picks. Checking for leaks and preparing for inspections represent other tasks plumbers might handle.
Working conditions could consist of extreme heat or cold temperatures. Plumbers often work in cramped areas with little ventilation. They usually must be physically able to lift materials and perform strenuous labor during much of the work day.