How to Become a Plumber in Alaska

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How to Become a Plumber in Alaska

Residents and businesses in Alaska also use water and need the water system either installed, repaired, or maintained.

The professionals that perform these types of works are the plumbers, and they have a lucrative occupation.

If you want to know how to become a plumber in Alaska, this guide is for you!

Plumber Job Description and Requirements

Thousands of years ago plumbers used to work with lead which was often used on the roof of a house, or in the water supply system.

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The job’s name comes from the Latin word for lead, and luckily these days these professionals only work with the drinking water system in a house, business, or city.

Their daily activities include:

  • Reading or drafting blueprints
  • Installation of the piping system
  • Maintaining it
  • Repairing it when needed
  • Ensuring the safety standards
  • Meeting building regulations
  • Using various tools to measure or solder

In Alaska, all plumbers need a license and they start as apprentices.

In this state, there are 3 types of licenses you can obtain:

  • Plumber utility for sewer and water lines
  • Plumber gas for installation of gas lines
  • Journeyman for plumbing work on both commercial and residential properties

Plumber Training

To train as a plumber, most people enroll in an apprenticeship program, though a vocational school or college is another popular option.

The best schools to enroll in for a plumber license are the Alaska Technical Center, Alaska Vocational Technical Center, and Ilisagvik College.

Each program training provider has different enrollment requirements.

The most common demands are:

  • A high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license
  • Good math skills

To prove your skills in math you’ll either have to show your grades or pass a test.

Most programs are available through unions and last for 5 years.

When seeking an apprenticeship opportunity you can use the database maintained by the Alaskan Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

These are generally paid positions, but they pay less than more experienced plumbers.

As an apprentice, you’ll work supervised as you learn the ropes of the trade.

Becoming a Journeyman Plumber

Journeymen have more experience than apprentices and a license allowing them to perform their duties without supervision.

To become a journeyman you’ll have to meet these requirements:

  • 8,000 hours of notarized experience
  • 1,000 hours of schooling
  • Fill out the Certificate of Fitness application form
  • Score at least 70% on the journeyman exam

The Certificate of Fitness is needed by professionals in various industries, and while the exam is the same, those who pass it will obtain a different level certification.

To take the exam you’ll have to pay a fee of $50 and it lasts for 4 hours.

The exam is on the Uniform Plumbing Code and has the following sections:

  • General plumbing
  • Gas piping and appliance vent
  • Gas piping drawing
  • Waste and vent drawing
  • Water piping drawing

You’re not allowed to consult any book during this test.

Those who pass will have to pay the additional license fee of $200.

The license is valid for 2 years and you’re expected to re-take the test when the license expires.

The utility plumbing license is awarded to those who completed 125 hours of schooling or 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.

With this certification, you’ll be allowed to install water piping, sewage piping, and storm drains.

To obtain it, you’ll need to score 70% on the exam, and pay the fees:

  • $50 for the exam
  • $200 for the license

For the plumber gas license, you’ll need 500 hours of schoolwork or 4,000 hours of hands-on experience, with 2,000 hours focusing on fuel gas piping.

With this certification, you’ll be allowed to work on commercial fuel gas piping.

You have to complete the same steps as for the utility plumbing license

Becoming a Mechanical Contractor

Having the Mechanical Contractor License means you can create your own plumbing business in Alaska.

To obtain it, you’ll need to: 

  • Fill out the application form
  • Pay the $100 application fee;
  • Pay the $250 licensure fee.
  • $10,000 surety bond from a surety company or your insurer
  • Workers’ compensations from a private insurance company licensed in Alaska
  • Insurance as follows:
    • $20,000 for property damages
    • $50,000 for injury or death of one person
    • $100,000 for the injury or deaths of multiple people

This license expires on the last day of odd-numbered years.

Plumber Employment and Salary Information

Plumbers will be able to easily find employment in a variety of settings, though generally, their license type could limit their options at times.

Their salary will vary based on experience, the type of license they have, as well as location.

Annual Salary Range:
$48K
$64K
$82K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Anchorage$63,988
Juneau$63,361
Fairbanks$63,873
Wasilla$63,126
Sitka$62,499
Ketchikan$62,499
Kenai$63,126
Palmer$63,126
Bethel$63,126
Kodiak$63,126

You can even join a union if you want to earn more compared to other plumbers.

Additional Information

Alaska doesn’t have any license reciprocity agreement with any other state.

Joining a union can also help you stay updated with the changes to the plumbing code.

Another way you can make sure you’re up-to-date with these changes is to attend the yearly conference organized by the Alaska Mechanical Contractors Association.

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