Plumbers have a lucrative occupation with real possibilities of a successful career.
If you want to know more about this job, including the steps to take to enter it and the expected salary, read on!
This guide will reveal everything you need to know about becoming a plumber in Alabama.
Article Table of Contents
Plumber Job Description and Requirements
Plumbers are known since the Roman Empire times, at which point they were professionals trained to work with lead, which was often found on roofs and in the piping system.
Nowadays, these tradesmen work exclusively with the system used for drinking water.
Their activities include:
- Installation of the system
- Maintaining the system
- Repairing the system
- Ensuring the safety standards and building regulations
- Using measuring, power and soldering tools
In Alabama, one cannot perform any of these activities without proper training and a license.
In this state, you can obtain 3 types of certificates:
- Apprentice license,
- Journeyman license,
- Master plumber certification
Plumbers train through an apprenticeship program.
For such a position, you’ll work under a licensed plumber but you’ll need to be registered with the State of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board (PGFB).
To register as an apprentice, you’ll need:
- Fill out the form
- Pay the application fee – $25
- A copy of your driver’s license, social security card, or green card
- At least 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED
All the work you’ll perform will be supervised, but it will include repairs and pipe fittings.
The apprenticeship programs last for about 5 years.
Enrolling in a trade school is also possible for this occupation.
Also, the classes for the plumbing career have to be approved by the Board.
No matter the type of training you choose, you’ll have to learn about:
- Sprinkler installation,
- Reading blueprints
Your best options to find training opportunities are by contacting:
- The UA Local 91 training center
- The Career Training Base
While you’re an apprentice, you’ll have to renew your registration every year.
The fee associated with this renewal is $25.
Becoming a Journeyman Plumber
You can become a journeyman plumber once your apprenticeship period is over.
You’re expected to pass the journeyman exam and then you can receive your license.
For this, you’ll have to provide proof you were employed for at least two years while registered as an apprentice.
The journeyman plumber license application fee is $110.
If your application is accepted, you have 30 days to take the test administered by PSI Services, LLC.
Test locations can be found both in and out of state.
You have to answer correctly to 70% of the 70 questions on the test, and you can find out the result on the spot.
If you pass, you need to apply for the license within 90 days, or else you’ll need to re-take the exam.
The journeyman license costs $50 and this fee must be paid to the Board.
Journeymen are allowed to perform more types of jobs, and they include water sprinkler installations and plumbing repairs.
This license also has to be renewed every year.
The associated fee is $50.
Becoming a Master Plumber
To earn the certification as a master plumber you’ll need:
- At least 1 year of experience on a journeyman position
- To pass the master plumber exam
- To pay the application fee of $160
Becoming a master plumber means you can perform all types of plumbing jobs and you also don’t need supervision.
Master plumbers also need to renew their certifications every year.
Their fee is higher compared to apprentices and journeymen, and the fee is $150.
Plumber Employment and Salary Information
Plumbers work in a variety of settings:
These professionals can find employment as early as the apprenticeship stage.
These positions are considered apprenticeship jobs.
The salary you’ll earn will depend on the experience you have, with an apprentice towards the end of the apprentice program earning more than one who barely started.
Your location and union membership will also influence how much you earn.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
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As a future plumber, there are a few aspects you need to be aware of before you start.
Plumbers need to have insurance in Alabama, and this is generally covered by the employer.
Not all employers are willing to offer to cover the insurance, and in this case, it will be your duty to cover it as follows:
- $100,000 general liability
- $300,000 for property damage
The Board will ask for a copy of your insurance certificate.
Plumbers have the option to either join a union or not.
Each of these has advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest factor to attract a person to join a union is the higher salary compared to a non-union member plumber.
The biggest drawback for a plumber to reject union membership is that they’ll have to follow the regulations the union decides on, even if the individual doesn’t agree with them.
Resources for Plumbers
Plumbers in Alabama need to be up-to-date with the changes to the code or rules.
This can be done by accessing the website of the International Code Council, as well as the various blogs available on this topic.