Plumbers: What Do They Do?

Montgomery County Plumbers are skilled tradespeople who install and repair pipes for distributing water, sewage, and gas in buildings. They also troubleshoot malfunctioning plumbing systems and install plumbing fixtures like bathtubs, toilets, and sinks.


A career as a plumber can be lucrative and rewarding. However, it requires years of training and experience to become licensed in most states and municipalities.

As with many trades, most plumbers enter the profession through an apprenticeship program. This usually takes four to five years and involves classroom instruction as well as on-the-job training, for which the apprentice is paid a salary. These programs may be available through local trade schools, unions, or other groups, or you can find them independently.

During their apprenticeship, plumbers learn the basics of the trade, such as how to install and repair water heaters, toilets, and sinks. They also learn how to read blueprints and technical diagrams, and they receive hands-on experience working on actual plumbing projects. They are taught to use tools safely and properly, and they’re exposed to the dangers of working with hazardous chemicals and materials.

Some plumbers pursue further education after completing their apprenticeship. In fact, some colleges offer degree programs in plumbing. These generally last about two years and include general education requirements as well as more focused courses in topics like water and sewer systems, plumbing codes, safety procedures, and the design of pipe systems. Some students choose to earn a certificate in specific areas of plumbing, such as green plumbing design, while others complete the entire undergraduate degree and seek out a master’s degree or professional certification.

Online plumbing classes are another option for those interested in a career as a plumber. These programs often include professionally produced videos, downloadable course materials, and quizzes, and they can be taken at the student’s own pace. They can cost as little as $10 for an individual class from a skills-sharing website or up to $1,000 for the full program from an online trade school for plumbing.

Physical Requirements

Whether working on residential or commercial construction projects, plumbers spend much of their time on their feet, crawling in tight spaces, and bending over to install pipes and fixtures. As a result, they must be physically fit and able to work in extreme weather conditions like heat and cold. Plumbers also need excellent customer service skills because they often interact with clients when discussing plumbing issues and estimating job costs.

While some plumbers are self-employed, most obtain their training through an apprenticeship program offered by trade unions or vocational schools. These programs typically take four years to complete and lead to “journeyman plumber” status. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most entry-level apprentices. Those interested in earning a master plumber license must meet state and local requirements that vary by jurisdiction.

In addition to technical knowledge of plumbing systems, plumbers must have the manual dexterity to handle tools and equipment efficiently and accurately. They need to be able to make quick decisions while on the job and troubleshoot any problems that arise. Plumbers also need to understand and follow all applicable building codes.

Some states, require plumbers to pass a licensing exam and meet other state-specific qualifications. However, it’s important to note that while these qualifications may differ, they all focus on ensuring the quality of plumbing services provided by licensed professionals.

A plumber’s job duties can include inspecting existing piping, making repairs to damaged or leaking parts, and installing new piping for renovations or new buildings. They also collaborate with other construction professionals, such as general contractors, to ensure that all aspects of a project are progressing according to plan during renovations or new construction.

Plumbers can specialize in different types of plumbing projects, including residential, commercial, and industrial. Each type of project requires specialized knowledge and experience that a plumber can gain through on-the-job experience or by taking courses through vocational schools or community colleges. For example, a plumber who focuses on residential projects will need to have extensive knowledge of home water systems and how they relate to heating and ventilation systems.

Job Duties

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes that carry water, gas, or waste to and from fixtures such as sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and showers. They may also work on appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and dryers. Plumbers work on both residential and commercial properties. They may be self-employed or employed by a plumbing company. They often need to make emergency repairs to prevent health and safety hazards, so they are on call at all times.

As a plumber, you will need to have excellent critical thinking skills and the ability to weigh options when solving problems. You will also need to be physically strong enough to lift heavy equipment and tools. You must also be able to follow written and verbal instructions to complete jobs. Plumbers also need to keep accurate records and documentation of their work, including materials used and time spent on each job.

In addition to these basic skills, a plumber will need to have a good understanding of local building codes and regulations, including plumbing codes and standards for installation, maintenance, and repair. Plumbers may also need to perform complex calculations for large jobs or special installations.

Most plumbers start out their careers as apprentices to learn the trade. This is a great way to get hands-on experience and earn a paycheck at the same time. Most apprenticeship programs last four to five years and include both classroom and fieldwork.

Some experienced plumbers may become lead plumbers, overseeing the work of other plumbers and apprentices. Lead plumbers prepare lists of materials and supplies needed for each job; estimate cost; lay out jobs; and perform general supervision. They also train new hires, provide technical advice and assistance, and enforce work standards.

Plumbers must be able to collaborate with construction professionals such as general contractors to ensure that all aspects of a renovation or build are functioning correctly. They also need to be able to communicate with clients and other workers effectively.

While a plumber may not make as much money as a doctor, lawyer, or investment banker, they will be able to comfortably support themselves and their families. In addition, plumbing is a satisfying career that allows you to help people every day. When you repair a leaky faucet or install energy-saving low-flush toilets, you are helping people live better lives.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for plumbers is excellent, as there will always be a need for people who can fix pipes and fixtures that break down or get damaged over time. Plumbing professionals often work in a variety of environments, from residential homes to large commercial buildings. They may also install new systems in places that are being built or retrofit existing structures with energy-efficient fixtures and appliances. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment opportunities for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters will increase by 16 percent between 2016 and 2026.

While most people consider plumbers to be unskilled workers, the reality is that they are highly trained and experienced tradespeople who can work in a variety of settings. The field offers a high level of job satisfaction, with many employees still working into their 60s or beyond.

Some plumbers start their careers with a large company, and others choose to be independent contractors who work for themselves. Regardless of their choice, most plumbers can expect to earn a decent salary in the industry. However, the exact rate a person can expect to receive will depend on their skills, experience, and region.

As a plumber, you can make your career even more lucrative by getting additional certifications. These will increase your value as a worker and allow you to take on more challenging projects. You should also consider taking continuing education courses to keep up with the latest tools and techniques in your field.

Most states require plumbers to be licensed, so it is important to check your state’s requirements before beginning your career. You will likely be required to complete an apprenticeship and obtain a certain number of on-the-job training hours before being licensed. Many apprentices find that being part of a professional organization helps them advance in their careers. These organizations often provide educational resources, meetings, and conferences.

In addition, becoming a member of a plumbing association can help you stay abreast of changes in your field. Whether these changes are to your equipment, methods, or legislation, staying on top of the latest trends can make you a more valuable employee and will likely lead to higher pay rates.

Vanessa Holloway