Brave, courageous, agile, and able to stomach some pretty wretched stuff.
These are not often highlighted, but they are indeed qualities that every plumber must have.
Along with being good with their hands, knowing how to use tools, and having good problem-solving skills.
Plumbers must often crawl through small, dark places, wade through raw sewage, and do other dirty jobs.
However, they get paid well, have job security, can often make their own hours, and people love them for saving them from a waterless existence.
For instance, the average plumber’s salary in Chicago is $71,700, but many make over $100,000 depending on where they work and years of experience.
To become a full licensed plumber takes about 5 years.
However, you will be paid throughout your apprenticeship.
After 2 years of apprenticeship, you can take the Journeyman’s exam.
This will increase your salary and allow you to do more independent work.
After 3 more years, you can take the exam to become a master plumber.
Going to school can help you learn theory like state codes, and skills like blueprint reading.
However, the apprenticeship is still a mandatory part of the process.
There are a few schools in Chicago that offer plumbing classes and will help you get an apprenticeship.
But your best bet is to apply to the local plumbers union.
They offer a certain number of apprenticeships each year and hold their own classes.
Below is a list of organizations and schools that can help you on your way to being a plumber.
City College Of Chicago
About The School
With 7 campuses around the city of Chicago, the college has been serving the community for over 100 years.
They are the largest community college in Illinois and are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
City College offers low-cost tuition, flexible classes, and a supportive student environment.
The college offers a basic plumbing and fire protection certificate program.
Instruction includes lecture and hands-on practice in the areas of state codes, use of tools and equipment, fire sprinklers, home plumbing repair, blueprint reading, gas and water pipes, computer basics, and OSHA safety.
Students must have a high school degree and be at least 18 years of age.
The cost of the program is $1,300.
Address: 4300 Narragansett Ave. Chicago, IL 60634
Chicago Women In Trades
About The Program
This nonprofit organization has been supporting and training women to enter skilled trades jobs for over 40 years.
Run by other tradeswomen, the Technical Opportunity Program (TOP) is a 12-week program where students learn the basics of trades like carpentry, electrical, and plumbing.
Students also take part in mock interviews, field trips to various job sites, resume building, math classes, and OSHA safety.
Students will learn the basics through a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience.
Students are exposed to plumbing basics like repairing and installing household fixtures, and hot water heaters.
They will be prepared to take the apprenticeship exam and the program leaders will help place graduates in an apprenticeship with a local plumbing or pipe fitting union.
This free program is open to female residents of Chicago.
Address: 2444 W. 16th St. Chicago m, IL 60608
Joint Apprenticeship Commission - UA Local 130
About The Program
The Joint Apprenticeship Commission of local plumbers union 130, trains student plumbers through classroom theory and job field training.
All training is led by experienced, master plumbers.
For consideration, applicants must have a valid driver’s license, high school diploma, pass an aptitude test, physical, and drug screening.
Apprentices will have a 3-year schedule of 4 field days and 1 classroom day.
During this time, students will learn how to read plans and blueprints, state code, how to install, maintain, and repair sewer drains, fixtures, pipes, and systems in both residential and commercial buildings.
Once apprentices have fulfilled the required 8,000 hours, the union will assist with the journeyman’s licensing exam.
Apprenticeships are paid, but a nominal fee is taken for various administrative expenses.
Address: 1340 West Washington Blvd. Chicago, IL 60607
Dawson Technical Institute
About The School
This technical school was founded in 1968 to provide training in skilled construction careers.
Certificate programs include welding, plumbing, carpentry, and electrical line worker.
Students in the plumbing program will learn through a combination of classroom theory and hands-on training.
Topics covered include state codes, OSHA safety, blueprint reading, computer literacy, use of tools, and repair, installation, and replacement of fixtures, pipes, and various plumbing systems.
The school will assist with apprentice applications upon completion of the program.
All students must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma.
Cost of attendance is $1,300.
Address: 3901 S. State St. Chicago, IL 60609
Read the full guide: How to Become a Plumber