How to become a plumber

You can become a plumber through on-the-job training as an apprentice or by attending a postsecondary program at a trade school or community college.

Plumber career snapshot

Median pay

$59,880 ($28.79/hr)

Required degrees


10-year job growth

5% (Average)

The job market is difficult to navigate, and it is only getting harder as time goes on. Many popular career paths of the past are becoming obsolete. This makes finding a career that will last until you are ready to retire more important than ever.

Plumbing is an industry that has been around forever, and does not appear to be going anywhere any time soon.

If you’re interested in becoming a plumber, follow the five steps outlined in this guide to get your career underway.

Steps to becoming a plumber

1. Earn a high school diploma (or equivalent)

The first step to work in most industries is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Once this is done, you are ready to move onto the next step on your path to becoming a plumber.

2. Complete additional education and training

There are multiple paths available to obtain the additional education and training it takes to become a plumber, including trade school, community college, or becoming an apprentice. 

Each of these paths is talked about in more detail below.

Trade school or community College

Trade school and community colleges can be completed much more quickly than an apprenticeship, but they will cost a good bit more. These two options both take around 1 to 2 years to complete, and may require you to take out a loan in order to pay tuition.

Trade school can cost anywhere from $1,250 to $3,000 and the average cost of community college is $3,440 per year.

Trade school and community college will give you plenty of hands-on labs and classwork, and with this acquired experience and knowledge, you should have no trouble joining a company as an entry-level employee. 

Trade school and community college also give you a good foundation if you aspire to start your own company someday because you will have the opportunity to take business classes along with your plumbing related classes.

Join a company as an apprentice

If trade school or community college are not for you, another option is to join a company as an apprentice. This is the cheapest available option and does not require any experience. The downside to an apprenticeship is that it takes the longest. Apprentices actually get paid to learn as opposed to paying to learn at a trade school or community college.

Department of Labor (DOL) registered apprenticeship programs take around 4 to 5 years to complete. These programs consist of 144 hours of classwork and 2,000 hours of on the job training per year. If you do not want to go through the DOL, you can apply at a local company.

3. Get licensed

The requirements to get your plumbing license varies by state. Most states also have varying licensing levels. The different licensing requirements for each state can be found here.

4. Write your resume

Once you have completed your education, the next step is to write your resume. Your resume should be clear, concise, and straightforward. You should limit your resume to two pages or less, and generally, one page is better.

Here’s a great guide on how to write an awesome resume.

5. Apply to jobs

After you complete your resume, it is time to start applying for jobs. It is a good idea to send your resume to as many companies as possible, and take as many interviews as you can get. Practice makes perfect!

To find places hiring, look at job boards and call local companies in your area.

FAQs for becoming a plumber

Is it hard to become a plumber?

As long as you follow the steps listed above, it is not hard to become a plumber. It may take time to obtain all of the necessary training and licensing, but it will be well worth it and will help you to develop a lifelong skill.

How long does it take to become a plumber?

After getting your high school diploma (or equivalent), it can take anywhere between two and five years to become a plumber.

How much does plumbing training cost?

Trade school costs anywhere from $1,250 to $3,000 and the average cost of community college is $3,440 per year.

Do you need to be a licensed plumber?

The requirement to have a license to be a plumber varies by state, but it is a great idea to become licensed even if it is not required, as it will help to boost your credibility.

How long does it take to become a master plumber?

The journey to become a master plumber typically takes between 7 to 10 years.

>> Learn More: Plumbing School & Training Requirements