Being a plumber doesn’t only mean you hold a job.
You know a trade and work in a field with plenty of possibilities of developing a career.
If you’re interested in this occupation and you live in Massachusetts, you can learn here more about what you have to do to get started on this path.
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Plumber Job Description and Responsibilities
Long gone are the days when plumbers were working with lead found in the sewage system of a city.
These days, they’re working with various systems that use pipes.
Their daily activities involve:
- Reading or drafting blueprints
- Installation of the piping system
- Maintaining it
- Repairing the pipes and attachments when needed
- Ensuring the safety standards
- Meeting building regulations
- Using special equipment to measure or solder
In this state, plumbers need to be licensed to perform these tasks.
There are just a limited amount of tasks that an individual with no license can perform to a piping system.
Plumbers in Massachusetts are overseen by the Board of Registration of Plumbers and Gas Fitters who issues the licenses for this trade.
There are 3 types of licenses you can have in Massachusetts:
- Apprentice Plumber
- Journeyman Plumber
- Master Plumber
Becoming an Apprentice Plumber
Apprentices learn the trade while also working.
They’re performing tasks while supervised by a master plumber.
As an apprentice, you’ll learn how to read and interpret blueprints, install pipes, or perform various bending tasks.
After you complete a 300-hour vocational training program or a 550-hour plumbing tier program you’ll need to apply for an apprentice license.
The apprenticeship period lasts for about 5 years in total.
While you can enroll in the apprenticeship program directly, you can also enroll in a vocational school designed for adult education.
No matter where you choose to enroll, you’ll have to meet certain minimum requirements, such as:
- Being at least 18 years old
- Having a clean criminal record
- Having a driver’s license
- Being allowed to work in the US
- Knowing English
- Knowing math
Do know that apprentices still need some classroom education even if they enroll directly in such training programs.
Design and state regulations are part of the curriculum taught in a classroom setting.
You’ll also learn more about:
- Pipe fitting,
- Blueprint reading
- Safety regulations and meeting them
- Which tools to use for which task
No person can be an apprentice for over 10 years.
Becoming a Journeyman Plumber
Apprentice plumbers can become journeymen plumbers after accumulating at least 3 years of experience.
Journeymen plumbers are still working while supervised by a master plumber.
This usually happens more on complex tasks.
There are a few other requirements to meet before obtaining this license.
- Accumulating 8,000 hours of experience
- 150 hours of formal study
- Paying the application fee
- Passing the examination
Journeymen plumbers need to renew their licenses every 2 years.
Becoming a Master Plumber
This position is the highest possible in the plumbing world in Massachusetts.
Not all Journeymen choose to become master plumbers.
You’re eligible to become a master plumber after accumulating at least 1 year of experience as a journeyman.
You’ll have to attend some formal education hours in a classroom setting as well as to pass the master plumber exam.
Plumber Salary Information
Your experience will generally dictate how much you’ll earn.
Do know that you’ll start earning a salary as soon as you start your apprenticeship position.
Your paycheck will slowly increase the more you work.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
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There are a few aspects that are not apparent to those who are not familiar with this type of occupation.
For instance, you cannot work as a plumber in another state than Massachusetts, if this is where you became licensed.
Additionally, if you earned your license in a different state, you cannot work as a plumber in Massachusetts.
Plumbers have the possibility of joining a union, but this is not mandatory.
There are many advantages to joining a union, such as:
- Receiving help in finding full-time employment
- Having your contract and salary negotiated for you
- Receiving healthcare insurance
- Having access to a retirement plan
Some individuals prefer to negotiate their contracts and salary themselves, therefore they won’t see this aspect as an advantage.
Another disadvantage would be having to pay a yearly membership fee or having to agree and follow the decisions the union makes even if the members disagree.
Plumbers need to have insurance in case of accidents.
Generally, when working for a company, the insurance is covered by the company, otherwise, you’ll have to purchase it.