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Don’t call it a pipe dream: A guide to becoming a plumber

<p>As long as septic tanks and sewage systems abound, the world will need capable plumbers. And while the profession may bring to mind a simple clogged toilet, there’s much more to the job than that — as the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it, plumbers “install and repair the water, waste disposal, drainage and gas systems in homes and commercial and industrial buildings.” Not to mention installing fixtures.</p>

As long as septic tanks and sewage systems abound, the world will need capable plumbers. And while the profession may bring to mind a simple clogged toilet, there’s much more to the job than that — as the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it, plumbers “install and repair the water, waste disposal, drainage and gas systems in homes and commercial and industrial buildings.” Not to mention installing fixtures.


How to break into plumbing? As in other mechanical-heavy vocations, most plumbers learn the trade through apprenticeships. Both union apprenticeships — which can be very selective — and nonunion apprenticeships provides classes on such essential subjects as chemistry and blueprint-reading, as well as four to five years of paid, on-the-job training.


Trade or vocational schools are another option to get qualified; they can place graduates into jobs after finishing school. Military training can also prove to be a useful qualification.


Once you’re fully trained, you can get your plumber’s license. Many states require a plumber to be licensed, but Pennsylvania does not — as with electricians, the state’s laws are a patchwork of regulations that vary from town to town. Still, having a license is one way to distinguish yourself and show that you’re serious about your profession.

 
 
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