Plumbing is a useful profession with high demand since all structures (residential, commercial, and industrial) require some type of plumbing system.
However, becoming a plumber isn’t a simple task as it requires more than ill-fitting pants and a monkey-wrench to be successful.
The general process to become a plumber is after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, you must undergo a four-to-five year apprenticeship (around 2,000 hours of real-world training), then pass a licensing exam, which can be difficult.
To ensure you pass the exam the first time, completing an online course is the most effective.
Each program offers working knowledge that is covered on the upcoming test.
It also helps you gain additional knowledge compared to those who don’t pursue online training.
Before signing up for a program, keep reading to learn more about what to expect!
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Courses are in an Online Plumber Program?
- 2 Can you Earn a Plumber Certification Completely Online?
- 3 How Long Does it take to Earn a Plumber Certification Online?
- 4 How Much Does an Online Plumber Certification Cost?
- 5 Types of Plumber Certifications
- 6 Benefits of Online Plumber Training Programs
- 7 Drawbacks of Online Plumber Training Programs
- 8 Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Plumber Training Programs – Summary Table
- 9 Four Self-Study Tips for Plumber Online Students
- 10 Schools Offering Online Plumbing Programs
- 11 Free Online Plumbing Courses
- 12 Summary
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
What Courses are in an Online Plumber Program?
While a variety of online plumbing programs exist in the industry, they cover the same basic information.
These classes include:
Introduction to Pipefitting and Tools
In this introductory class, students learn the basic concept and usage of pipefitting and plumbing.
Understanding these differences is critical to the goal and overall content of the course.
Students also learn essential pipe fitting tools, operations, and skills, general safety with power tools, and the different career paths a graduate can take.
Blueprint Reading and Shop Math
This class presents how to read blueprints and conduct shop math.
By gaining this knowledge and understanding common terminology, students can formulate the foundation for pipe fitting.
Blueprint reading is critical to becoming a professional pipefitter because you must be able to accurately interpret blueprint layouts to achieve specific goals.
Fabrication, Welding, and Installation
This course teaches basic and advanced pipe fabrication, how to operate welding equipment, and the installation process.
Also, students work with above-ground and underground piping installations, specialty intersections and bends, and pipe welding processes like TIG and STICK.
A common course across multiple online programs discusses the modern phases of plumbing systems from design to installation, repairs, and remodeling.
As a plumber, you will accept jobs around fixtures and pipes starting with planning and design that’s up to code.
Knowing proper installation procedures and maintenance will analyze common plumbing system issues to troubleshoot is imperative to success.
Pipefitting and Plumbing Valves
The pipefitting and plumbing valve course instructs students about some of the most critical aspects of the job – installation methods, proper uses, and properties of pipefitting.
Students also gain insight into valve types, best assembly, and installation methods, how to package O-rings, troubleshooting, and maintaining various valves.
Pipe Welding Basics and Safety
This course teaches equipment safety and welding basics including the proper techniques to reduce injury, tool handling, piping equipment types, and welding.
Also, students learn about safety procedures when using scaffolds and ladders, as well as identifiable hazards in the field.
Rigging, Standards, and Specifications
The rigging, standards, and specifications class teaches students about the inspection and use of critical hardware and equipment in rigging along with related safety rules and hazards.
You also learn about the rigging process, lifting pipes, codes, standards, and related specifications.
The knowledge acquired through this course offers a general overview of the rigging process with the pipe fitting specifications, regulations, and standards required in the field.
Can you Earn a Plumber Certification Completely Online?
The purpose of a plumbing career diploma is to highlight the successful completion of a trade program created to prepare students for a full-time plumbing career.
This can be completed as an online plumbing certification program.
How Long Does it take to Earn a Plumber Certification Online?
While each program has different lengths depending on how detailed the courses are, earning a plumber certification online can range from six months to a year.
Some programs offer just preparation for the plumber exam to become certified, while others include the certification at the end with the included examination.
How Much Does an Online Plumber Certification Cost?
Plumbing classes with certifications greatly vary based on the state but can range from $800 to $3,000 based on how comprehensive the online training program is.
There are even associate degrees in plumbing technology for those who wish to take their schooling a step further.
The entire degree could run in the 10’s of thousands of dollars.
Types of Plumber Certifications
Many states expect plumbers to acquire a license before starting work.
In New York and Florida, licenses are not issued at the state level, but at the county or city level.
Plumber licensures have three stages of certifications:
Apprenticeships include classroom learning with considerable on-the-job training.
While most states do not require apprentices to have licensure, prerequisites must be met before being considered for an apprenticeship including a high school diploma or equivalent.
After being accepted into an apprentice program or acquiring the license, apprentices can perform limited duties and must be supervised by a master plumber or journeyman.
Before earning a journeyman license, candidates must meet specific experience and education requirements, plus pass an exam.
While prerequisites vary by state, candidates usually need four years of experience as an apprentice to take the exam.
Some states allow classroom hours to count toward a portion of the work experience requirement.
A journeyman certification allows you to work independently and supervise apprentices.
There’s a difference between journeyman plumbers and master plumbers.
To become a master plumber, the candidate must meet exam and experience requirements.
Candidates must have two years of experience as a journeyman or more before applying for the license.
Licensed master plumbers can supervise junior plumbers, operate plumbing companies, and pull permits for projects.
Most states offer specialty licenses in addition to the above three certification levels.
These specialties can range from backflow, domestic well, and residential to pump and irrigation.
Benefits of Online Plumber Training Programs
Online plumber training programs can be a terrific way to learn the skills required to be successful in the field.
Many benefits exist for this type of training, including:
Accessibility from Anywhere
One of the best aspects of taking an online plumber training program is the flexibility to attend classes and study from anywhere with an internet connection.
Vocational and training schools gain the benefit of reaching a more extensive student network, instead of being geographically limited.
Additionally, online lectures can be recorded, shared, and archived for future reference.
If a student misses something, they can go back and review the recording.
Online learning allows instructors to teach efficiently to deliver lessons via podcasts, PDFs, videos, and PowerPoint presentations.
These tools can be integrated into the lesson plan to make the content more exciting and engaging.
By utilizing online resources beyond traditional textbooks, online plumber training programs offer a more efficient teaching method.
In addition to being able to access plumbing course materials and lectures from anywhere, taking an online program allows you to study whenever you want.
That means you have more flexibility to spend time with friends and family and have a much better school-work-life balance.
While planning is involved to be successful, you don’t need to trek into a classroom or workshop to get the same information you’re learning online.
Foster Self-Discipline Skills
One of the best development advantages of taking an online plumbing program is you will learn self-discipline.
Since you’re studying alone from home, there isn’t anyone over your shoulder telling you to study or complete assignments.
The online student is responsible for their studies and can mature into an individual who values accomplishment and learning.
Suits Various Learning Types
All students have different learning styles.
Some are visual, while others learn best through audio.
Some students thrive in a classroom setting while others work best alone and become distracted in large groups.
Taking an online plumbing program addresses these different learning styles through a range of resources and options that can be customized to create the ideal learning environment for each student.
Drawbacks of Online Plumber Training Programs
While there are countless benefits to taking an online plumber training program, several drawbacks exist including:
Inability to Focus
Many plumbing students have difficulty focusing on the screen for lengthy periods.
Also, attendees may become easily distracted at home by friends, family, the television, or any other influences.
Older students may struggle with the physical aspect of sitting for lengthy periods and not scheduling breaks to get through the material faster.
Less Hands-on Learning
When taking a firsthand, online trade class like plumbing training, not being in a physical workshop can overlook many necessary skills to complete the job.
Although most training classes offer different piping types and physical components and tools to work with, it is not as effective when doing it from home without an instructor to ask immediate questions.
Screen Time Problems
Sitting in front of a screen for hours each day can result in health hazards over time.
Extended screen time problems when taking online plumbing courses are one of the greatest disadvantages to online learning since eye strain, development of poor posture, and other physical problems can appear.
As mentioned later, the best solution is to take many breaks from the screen to rejuvenate your mind and body.
Although virtual learning technology is continuously improving, one major challenge with an online plumber training program is internet connectivity.
In smaller towns and more rural areas, a consistent connection with decent speed is a major challenge.
Without a reliable connection for teachers or students, learning continuity will suffer.
This can be detrimental to the entire training program.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Plumber Training Programs – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Plumber Training Programs||Drawbacks of Online Plumber Training Programs|
|Accessibility from Anywhere||Inability to Focus|
|Efficiency||Less Hands-on Learning|
|Flexibility||Screen Time Problems|
|Foster Self-Discipline Skills||Technology Issues|
|Suits Various Learning Types|
Four Self-Study Tips for Plumber Online Students
When taking online plumbing classes, there are many presented challenges throughout the course, especially at home.
To maximize your study time and be as successful as possible when taking these virtual classes, follow these four self-study tips:
One: Break Down Specific Tasks
Maintaining a detailed calendar of what to accomplish each day during your online plumbing training provides you with a foundation to achieve your objectives.
This calendar breaks information down into smaller, underwhelming tasks to keep you on track and motivated.
Also, it ensures you don’t feel like you’re cramming information into the day and puts you in control of what you are studying and when.
Two: Limit Social Media
While it is always enjoyable to get lost in the black hole of Instagram or Facebook, there is a time and place for everything, and studying is not it.
Therefore, when taking your online plumber training, log off all social media accounts so you’re not tempted to take a quick peek.
At home, most students have enough distractions and don’t need to add more to the virtual world.
Think of your computer screen as a classroom, where you wouldn’t be on social media the entire class.
Three: Make Studying Enjoyable
If it doesn’t distract you, play happy music while studying to remain in a good mood and alert.
Maintaining positive vibes while studying makes the process more enjoyable and the time goes by faster.
Mellow music also helps students retain information in a relaxing environment.
Many students also find studying to be more enjoyable with coffee.
Four: Take Regular Breaks
By taking short and frequent breaks, you can step away from the monotony of a computer screen for a few minutes to rejuvenate your brain.
Staring at a screen for hours on end is mentally exhausting and places strain on your eyes.
However, by maintaining regular breaks, you can avoid these physical and mental issues, thus allowing you to maximize your study time.
It’s best to schedule a break of 5-10 minutes between study time to grab a snack, use the bathroom, or take a breather.
Schools Offering Online Plumbing Programs
|Penn Foster||925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515|
|Ashworth College||5051 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200 Norcross, Georgia 30092|
|Plumbers Training Institute||3135 Logan Valley Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686|
|THE PLUMBING ACADEMY INC.||18 LONERGAN RD MIDDLETON, MA 01949|
|Granite State Trade School||42 Old Manchester Road Raymond, NH 03077|
|Winn's Career Education, Inc.||750 E US Hwy 80, Suite 200 Box 671, Forney, TX 75126|
|California State University, Chico||400 W First Street | Chico, CA 95929-0250|
|Tyler Junior College||1327 South Baxter Avenue Tyler, Texas 75701|
|Midlands Technical College||423 College Street, Batesburg-Leesville, SC 29070|
|PHCC Academy||180 S. Washington Street - Suite 100 - Falls Church, VA 22046|
|Hawkeye Community College||1501 East Orange Road Waterloo, IA 50704-8015|
|Community College of Philadelphia||1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130|
|Westchester Community College||75 Grasslands Road Valhalla, NY 10595|
Free Online Plumbing Courses
Do-it-yourself classes on plumbing topics of different difficulty levels are available online and some of them are free of charge.
These courses provide an overview of the functionality of bathroom appliances, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances.
They teach you how to install or fix sinks, dishwashers, and other appliances.
Training courses that lead to a diploma usually offer a more in-depth understanding of how pipes work in a home.
Service providers offering free plumbing tutorials:
Roto-Rooter is a plumbing and water restoration company that dedicates a portion of its website to training people who want to perform basic plumbing tasks.
Their “how-to” tutorials are designed for people who don’t have very advanced knowledge of plumbing.
Roto-Rooter’s website also includes a page dedicated to plumbing terminology.
Those interested learn about septic tank upkeep, faucet maintenance, water heater testing, and garbage disposal resetting, among other topics.
Lowe’s Home Improvement website is another place where you may learn how to install plumbing appliances in your home.
They offer tutorials that range from beginner to intermediate difficulty and are available free of charge as videos and written instructions.
Those interested are provided with a list of tools and materials that are required to complete those tasks.
Many tutorials also include information about estimated costs that are based on the prices of the products that can be purchased from Lowe’s store.
Topics covered in these tutorials include toilet installation, water heater installation, faucet installation, as well as tub drain repair.
Easy2DIY is a platform dedicated to home improvement and repair tutorials.
Here you can find a library of demonstrations and animated tutorials designed to help you complete a vast variety of plumbing projects.
The courses are provided in both video and text format and include a step-by-step explanation as well as an estimate of the time needed to complete each project depending on your experience level.
You are not required to register for an account on their website but you do need to install Flash Player to be able to view the tutorials.
Easy2DIY will teach you how to fix a clogged sink drain, how to replace a toilet, how to install a pedestal sink, and how to solder copper pipes, among other topics.
Another provider of free plumbing courses is Alison.com
This online learning platform offers classes in video format and if you gain a passing score of 80 percent or higher at the final assessment you will gain an Alison certificate.
The topics covered include tool usage, safety protocols, and types of pipes.
You can take the classes for free but you will have to pay a fee in order to receive the certificate.
The course includes modules such as plumbing safety, plumbing math, fixtures and faucets, and drain, waste, and vent systems.
In conclusion, if you want to learn how to perform basic plumbing tasks there are several free online options that can help you complete a variety of projects.
If you’re contemplating plumbing as a career, these online classes and tutorials will give you a clearer idea of what the plumbing profession entails.
Becoming a master plumber is a lengthy and time-consuming process with a lot of demanding work and dedication to the craft.
The process often begins with an online plumbing training course to learn more about the trade while sharpening your plumbing skills.
There are many benefits and some drawbacks to taking an online plumbing course, but if you are interested in a technical and firsthand career as a plumber, then this is the job for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all states require a plumbing license?
No, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas do not require a plumbing license.
Are scholarships available for plumbing education?
Yes, a variety of scholarships are available from different plumbing organizations, local companies, and unions.
Is insurance required before getting a plumbing contractor license?
Not all states require insurance, but having it protects your business.
It is advised to sign up for general liability (protects against injury, property damage, and advertising claims), surety bond (safeguards against other contractors), and workers’ compensation (state-mandated to protect you and your employees in case of injury).
How much do plumbers make?
Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2020 median plumber, pipefitter, and steamfitter wage were $56,330, with salaries varying in different states and locations.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Plumber