Professional plumbers are trained to check, troubleshoot, and fix the systems of pipes, drains, and valves that keep our faucets and drains working. Depending on what they do, plumbers are in high demand all over the country to work on plumbing projects in homes, businesses, and commercial factories. In 2010, nearly 420,000 people worked as plumbers, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the number of jobs in this field will grow by 12% by 2024.
In the past, hands-on training was the only way to become a certified plumber. Even though vocational schools still value the experience a plumber-in-training gets on the job as an apprentice and assistant, more and more training courses and certifications can be done just as well online.
If someone wants to get a certificate in plumbing online, it will likely take them about a year to do so. Like other certificate programs, there won’t be many, if any, classes outside of plumbing. Students can expect to take online plumbing classes that cover the basics and brazing, welding, and reading diagrams and blueprints. People who work hard to get a certificate will be rewarded when they enter a job market that needs their skills and knowledge.
People who get online plumbing training can work in a variety of places. At the beginning of their careers, plumbers usually fix and replace rusty underground pipes, leaky bathroom and kitchen valves, and clogged sewer and septic drain. Master plumbers, who have built up their skills over time, help make blueprints and make sure that these repairs are done to keep the system from breaking down in the long run and meet modern building codes for safety.
There are a lot of specialties that fall in this range. For example, pipefitters work mostly in commercial and industrial settings to install and maintain important pipelines that carry gases, acids, or chemicals that could be harmful or corrosive. On the other hand, Steamfitters are trained and certified to work with pipes and equipment that are hot and under a lot of pressure.
Most vocational plumbing certificate programs require a high school diploma or GED and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, no matter what specialty you want to go into.
Even though there are different lengths of certificate programs, the average vocational certificate in plumbing takes two semesters to finish. Most schools teach you everything you need to know to set up and fix water lines, sewer lines, valve assemblies, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures.
The best online programs teach you how to install and use electricity safely and teach you about the most common safety and building codes. Certificate holders are usually qualified to work for private companies, private homeowners, or public utilities.
What’s Next for Certificate Holders in Plumbing?
In most places, certified plumbers get paid more than average and have a high chance of keeping their job. In 2014, the median salary for a plumber was $50,660, according to the BLS. With a total growth of 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, the need for qualified plumbers will stay high for the next few years. The BLS thinks that when baby boomers retire between now and 2024, 50,000 more plumbing jobs will open up in the U.S.
A certificate in plumbing is also better if you have an associate’s degree in electronics engineering or a similar field. The BLS says that holders with an associate degree are almost 20% more likely to have a job than those with a vocational certificate.
A report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce shows that holders with an associate degree earn more than holders with a diploma. The Center thinks that people with an associate degree will make about $180,000 more throughout their lives than their neighbors who only have a certificate.
Some certified plumbers even go on to get a bachelor’s degree. According to a report from Georgetown University, a person with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make more than $2.2 million throughout their career.