Basic skills you will need
While anyone can become a plumber through training and apprenticeship, there are skills that make it easier. A good plumber needs to have a general aptitude with both math and mechanics. She must also be comfortable with working with her hands, as well as working in cramped and sometimes dark places. Plumbers must also be able to have good problem-solving abilities as well as the ability to work with people.
The first step to becoming a master plumber is to get apprenticed. Apprentice plumbers must be 17 or 18, depending on the state, and usually need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many aspiring plumbers join a local plumbers union and apply for apprenticeship programs. These programs include training on the job as well as courses in plumbing. These programs can be difficult to get into so some people opt for training at a technical or vocational school. There, they are able to find classes in mathematics, drafting, reading blueprints and plumbing codes. You can also gain plumbing experience by joining a smaller plumbing company as an apprentice.
Becoming a journeyman and master plumber
After you complete your apprenticeship program, you'll take a "trade" test as well as a test required by the state. After you pass these tests, you will be officially licensed as a journeyman plumber. At this point, you can start gaining the experience you'll need to become a master plumber. After 4 to 5 years, depending on your state and the union there, you can apply to become a master plumber. Becoming a master plumber requires taking a test that covers a variety of topics, including federal and local plumbing codes, as well as the installation, maintenance and repair of plumbing systems.
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