Today, most high school graduates think that college is their only choice in order to get a good job entering the workforce. However, it was not too long ago that apprenticeships were the primary way for someone to get a great job in a field they truly loved. Becoming a plumber’s apprentice – and eventually a licensed plumber – is an often overlooked but great career opportunity for young professionals who don’t want to go to a four-year university.
While plumbing might not be a glamorous job, it can be highly lucrative, stable, and recession-proof if one dedicates themselves to the trade. In general, trade jobs are more stable and have higher rates of job satisfaction than other careers because they are active, skilled, and aren’t affected by recessions because of their year-round necessity. If you or your child is looking for an alternative career path, here’s what they should know about becoming a plumber’s apprentice:
What is a plumbing apprenticeship?
Plumbers must go through both classroom and on-the-job training before they can become licensed journeymen or master plumbers. Typically, these programs are sponsored by a union, trade school, or private company and require a certain amount of hours plus a certifying exam to pass. However, they are often structured as earn-while-you-learn programs, helping both young professionals and those looking to switch careers handle schooling and work at the same time.
What does a plumber’s apprentice do?
Plumbing apprenticeships require both class time and on-the-job training. During your first few months, you will observe, help load equipment on job sites, and ask questions about what you learn in class. However, the more you learn, the more responsibility you’ll be given to install, repair, and design plumbing systems for residential and commercial properties.
How long do apprenticeships take?
Apprenticeships vary in pace and are dependent on an individual’s progress and dedication throughout the program. Typically, they take between two and five years, but some of the time you spend on the job site will be paid. The faster you learn, the less time it will take to advance through the program as well.
Why become a plumber?
Becoming a plumber is one of the best options in the maintenance field, with a lucrative job outlook and high job satisfaction among licensed plumbers. If you’re interested in an alternative career path that doesn’t result in thousands of dollars of student debt or a boring desk job, becoming a plumber might be right for you.
Visit the MaintenX careers page to learn more about what it’s like to be a plumber, or to search for jobs if you’re a recently graduated apprentice.