Is a career as an Plumber right for you?
Here are some things to consider before you decide:

  • In most states, a person must be licensed or perform work under a licensed individual.
  • To receive your license, you will be required to complete 2-5 years on on-the-job experience and pass an exam.
  • Once licensed, you can expect to make $37.00 an hour or $76,960 a year plus overtime and benefits.
  • There are 126,929 plumbing businesses in the US as of 2023, which is an increase of 0.6% since 2022. (IBIS World)
  • The right personality type to become an Plumber is someone who has:
    • Excellent Customer Service & Communication Skills
    • Strong Problem Solving Skills
    • Attention to Detail
    • Strength and Leadership in Stressful Situations

The Career Journey

Attend Trade School or Apprentice

  • Must have a GED or HS Diploma
  • You must have a license to perform work on your own, so work experience or a program at a trade show will needed to be completed prior to sitting for your first exam.
  • Trade School Programs are offered Nationwide and once completed can allow you to gain entry-level employment in the Plumbing field.
  • Average length of a program is 10-12 months. However, there are more high-level courses that can be completed in less than 16 weeks and provide an OSHA 30 and Plumbing Level One Certificate.
  • The cost of a Plumbing program can range greatly from $2,000 to $20,000. When vetting a program and its cost, determine which certifications you will receive upon graduation. Many employers in the Plumbing industry are now providing their own in-house training for those brand new to the trade.
  • Skills you will learn: Plumbing Fundamentals, Fittings & Fixtures, Valves, Pumping & Code, Water Service Installation & Distribution, Layout Installation, System Service & Installation

Find an Apprenticeship

  • You can apprentice while attending school which means you are able to earn while you learn. Some employers will even sponsor your school tuition if you commit to a multi-year employment contract post-graduation.
  • An apprentice will typically earn $24.00 an hour, but your wages will increase as you earn your licenses and certifications.

Become a Journeyman

  • Every state is different, but on average you will need to complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience and 250 hours of classroom time to sit for the Journeyman exam.
  • Once you receive your Journeyman license, you will need to renew it each year or it will expire.
  • It typically takes an entry-level plumber apprentice 4-5 years before they reach the level of Journeyman.

Become a Master Plumber

  • Every state is very different in terms of requirements to become a Master Plumber. For example, it may take 10 years to receive your Master license in Delaware, but in Nebraska, there is no requirement for licensure at all. Check out this guide for requirements state by state.
  • On average, once you have your Journeyman license, you will need an additional 1-3 years of work experience before you are able to sit for the Master Plumber exam.

Career Paths within the Trade

Licensed Plumber




Gas Service Technician

Project Manager


Septic Technician

Business Owner

Featured Story:

As tech jobs melt, the trades beckon. This Tacoma plumber makes $140K+

Meet Will Lane, 31, of Tacoma, who never went to college.

He’s a journeyman plumber. He figures he earns $140,000 to $160,000 a year. He has plenty of work.

It turns out that you don’t need a four-year degree and massive college debt to make a very comfortable living.

High school students: The skilled trades  plumbing, electrical, carpentry, ironworking and numerous others  are beckoning.