How to Become a Plumber in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Plumber in Pennsylvania

Lucrative jobs are important, and those who have one will never be without employment.

One such job is that of a plumber, and if you’re interested in a career in this field, we have the guide to get you started in Pennsylvania.

Plumber Job Description and Requirements

Plumbers are specialized in working with systems made of pipes.

The name of the trade comes from the Latin word for lead, and while they don’t work with this metal anymore, their job remains quite dangerous.

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They generally need to get trained and licensed, but each state can set different regulations.

In Pennsylvania, you need to be a licensed journeyman or master plumber to be allowed to perform plumbing work.

The type of license you possess dictates which type of work you can perform:

  • A journeyman can repair pipes, install fixtures, and modify pipes
  • A master plumber can install, construct, design, alter, and modify fixtures and pipes

Individuals who are interested in becoming plumbers, need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete an apprenticeship approved by the state
  • Be legally allowed to work in the USA
  • Be able to complete the tasks

Becoming an Apprentice Plumber

The apprenticeship period lasts for 2,000 hours of on-the-job paid instruction as well as 224 hours of classroom instruction.

To enroll you’ll need to meet the requirements above, along with:

  • A driver’s license
  • Having a clean criminal record
  • Passing an entrance exam
  • Filling in an application form
  • Paying the application fee – $25
  • Having good knowledge of English and math

The requirements may vary from school to school and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

During the training period you’ll be learning about:

  • Installation of plumbing systems
  • Reading blueprints
  • Trade safety measures and regulations
  • Layout and design of plumbing systems
  • Measuring, cutting, soldering

Apprentices work under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

Future plumbers can also enroll in a vocational school.

No matter you choose to enroll in an apprenticeship on the job, or in a vocational school, you’ll need both classroom education and on-the-job training.

Becoming a Journeyman Plumber

To become a journeyman you’ll have to complete your apprenticeship.

Once this is completed, you’ll need to fill out an application, pay an application fee, show proof of completed training and identity.

You’ll generally have to pass an exam as well.

The International Code Council administers the journeyman exam.

You’ll have to pay a fee to take the test, but the fee varies between jurisdictions.

Becoming a Master Plumber

To become a master plumber you’ll need to complete the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Worked at least one year of work as a Journeyman
  • Pass the required exam

To take the exam you have to register for it 45 days in advance and pay the exam fee.

Just like for the journeyman exam, this fee also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Plumber Salary Information

Plumbers start getting paid as soon as they start their apprenticeship period.

When you start as an apprentice, your salary will be lower than that of a journeyman, for instance.

The average salaries for plumbers are higher in cities like Philadelphia, Upper Darby, Bensalem, and Abington.

Annual Salary Range:
$43K
$57K
$73K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Philadelphia $61,662
Pittsburgh $56,700
Allentown $58,013
Erie $53,172
Reading $57,263
Upper Darby $61,662
Scranton $53,131
Bensalem $62,172
Lancaster $56,395
Abington $61,616

Additional Information

There are a few other details you need to know about this occupation.

For instance, plumbers need to renew their licenses.

However, each district will set up its own rules and fees related to how this process is done.

License Reciprocity Agreement

The state of Pennsylvania doesn’t have license reciprocity agreements with other states.

The various jurisdictions in the state may have such agreements with other jurisdictions in the state.

Insurance

All plumbers need to have insurance either in case of an accident, property damage, or tool repairs.

The insurance you need also depends on the jurisdiction you’re in.

Joining a Union

All tradesmen have the option of joining a union in their jurisdiction or not.

In most cases, joining one is beneficial because you can:

  • Earn more
  • Have the work insurance covered
  • Having access to health and disability insurance
  • Have access to a retirement plan

There are a few downsides as well:

  • Having to pay a membership fee
  • Having to follow the decisions taken even if you don’t agree with them

Schools Offering Plumbing Programs in Pennsylvania

School Name Address
Luzerne County Community College 521 Trailblazer Drive, Nanticoke, PA 18634-3899
Community College of Alleghany County 1040 Montour West Industrial Park Coraopolis, PA 15108
Delaware County Community College 901 S. Media Line Rd, Media, PA 19063
Lancaster County Career & Technology Center 1730 Hans Herr Drive, Willow Street, PA 17584
Berks Career & Technology Center 1057 County Road, Leesport, Pennsylvania 19533-9112
Orleans Technical College 2770 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19114-1014
Pennco Tech-Bristol 3815 Otter St, Bristol, Pennsylvania 19007
Pennsylvania College of Technology One College Ave, Williamsport, Pennsylvania 17701-5799
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology 750 E King St, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602-3198
Plumbers, Pipefitters and HVACR Technicians Local Union 520 7193 Jonestown Road Harrisburg, PA 17112
MON-YOUGH PLUMBING APPRENTICE SCHOOL 322 MALL BLVD. - BOX #258 MONROEVILLE, PA 15146
Plumbers Training Institute
UA Local 690 2791 Southampton Road Philadelphia, PA 19154
Schuylkill Technology Center 15 Maple Avenue MarLin, PA 17951
Reading Muhlenberg CTC 2615 Warren Road, Reading, PA 19604
Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood Campus 145 Pavilion Lane Youngwood, Pa. 15697
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One Comment
  1. Avatar for Nate Simmons Nate Simmons

    I’m impressed by the detailed breakdown of the licensing process for plumbers in Pennsylvania. It’s essential to follow all the legal requirements and regulations to work in this career. As a plumber, I prefer maintaining good communication skills to build a relationship with regular customers.

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