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.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Plumber Job Description and Requirements
- 2 Becoming an Apprentice Plumber
- 3 Becoming a Journeyman Plumber
- 4 Becoming a Master Plumber
- 5 Plumber Salary Information
- 6 Additional Information
- 7 Schools Offering Plumbing Programs 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.
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:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
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.
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
|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|
Read the full guide: How to Become a Plumber