The Complete Plumbing Trade School and Training Guide

September 28, 2021

Plumbing trade schools help you succeed as plumbers in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. As an aspiring plumber, you’ll need trade-specific skills, training, licenses, and certifications to succeed in this field.

Those who appreciate working with their hands will find this one of the most rewarding career paths out there. A good-quality associate degree that revolves around practical and theoretical knowledge will help you excel as a professional plumber.

On average, plumbers, steamfitters, and pipefitters make USD 56,330 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts that employment may increase by 4%.

Read on for more information on how plumbing trade schools can help you reach your professional goals. 

plumbing trade school

How to Become a Plumber

Plumbing is a practical-intensive industry that requires professionals to receive formal training. Most plumbers start their journey as an apprentice. Although it is not mandatory, a college degree or a training program can help you stand out from other applicants and make landing an apprenticeship easier.

From repair and maintenance of sinks, toilets, tubs, and fixtures in residential settings to handling water pipelines, HVAC systems, waste management sites, and gas lines, plumbers manage a wide range of professional tasks.

As a plumber, you can work in specialized plumbing companies, work independently, or even start your own business.

Steps to Becoming a Professional Plumber

Get Your High School Diploma/GED

A high school diploma or GED helps you apply for formal education programs. Pursuing your high-school certification also allows you to brush up on your knowledge of math, technical drawing, and thermodynamics.

A solid technical background is essential for the trade since you’ll have to read blueprints, make technical and financial calculations, and create an effective repair and maintenance plan.

Pursue an Apprenticeship Program

Plumbing apprentices gain exposure to various concepts through on-the-job training. While applying for apprenticeships, make sure the program is associated with a company registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.

You’ll learn about different plumbing pipes, OSHA safety guidelines, codes and standards, and plumbing system design as a part of your apprenticeship program.

You must complete a fixed number of hours before you sit for your licensing exam. An apprenticeship program can take anywhere from 2 to 5 years.

Start as a Journeyman Plumber

After passing the licensing exam, you can obtain your journeyman license. Unlike an apprentice who has to work under a master plumber, a licensed journeyman can work independently across commercial and residential settings.

You might have to renew your license yearly or every 3 to 5 years, depending on your state’s requirements. After spending a certain amount of time on the job as a journeyman, you can apply for the master plumber licensing exam.

Become a Master Plumber

The final step in this career path will often involve achieving master plumber status. The prerequisites for master plumbers vary according to the local laws. Some states require additional courses or training.

With your master plumber license, you can pursue the highest-paying jobs in the plumbing industry. You can work as a contractor, offer advanced services, oversee apprenticeship training, and even take up managerial roles. Check out these tips for more information on how you can become a plumber.

Become a Master Plumber

What are the Requirements of a Plumbing Trade School?

Most plumbing apprenticeship programs and trade schools do not have a static set of requirements. Generally, a high school diploma, GED, or any other equivalent proof of education is sufficient. However, there are plumbing programs out there that require additional criteria.

A strong background in aptitude, science, and math can be beneficial to excel at plumbing. In trade schools, you can learn the behavior of materials under the application of heat and cold, basic repair and maintenance, plumbing codes, and reading piping layouts.

Get your associate’s degree in plumbing and heating technology from the New England Institute of Technology today!


Earn your degree in Professional Building Trades from NEIT and begin your new career path today!


What Plumbing Certifications Can I Apply For?

You can apply for nine major certifications in the plumbing and allied industries. These certifications can help you stay updated with the latest trends in plumbing and may also boost your job prospects.

  • EPA Amusement Operators Safety Certification
  • Certified in Plumbing Design
  • NCCER Certification
  • Heating Professional
  • Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Professional
  • Air Conditioning Service Certification
  • Transit Bus Technician: Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning
  • Piping Inspector Certification
  • Master Oil Heat Specialist Certification

Please refer to the table.

Sr. NoCertification NameEducation / Training RequirementsWork ExperienceOral / Written examRenewal Requirements
1EPA Amusement Operators Safety Certification (EPA)NoneNoneYesNone
2Certified in Plumbing DesignNone2+YesEvery 2 years
3NCCER CertificationNoneNoneYesEvery 5 years
4Heating ProfessionalNoneNoneYesEvery 3 years
5Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump ProfessionalNone2+YesEvery 3 years
6Air Conditioning Service CertificationNoneNoneYesEvery 5 years
7Transit Bus Technician: Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)NoneYesYesEvery 5 years
8Piping Inspector Certification (API)YesYesYesEvery 3 years
9Master Oil Heat Specialist Certification (6149)NoneYesYesNone

How Does Enrolling in a Trade School Help With an Apprenticeship?

Trade schools and community colleges offer degrees and training options in skilled trades, including plumbing. While traditional apprenticeships require students to work on field jobs, trade school programs provide students and classroom courses with hands-on learning opportunities to communicate fundamental knowledge and skills.

A community college is typically more affordable than a university and allows applicants to apply for Federal Financial Aid to help fund their education.

Trade school programs are also quicker and allow you to obtain a certificate or an associate’s degree in about two years. A formal program can prepare you for jobs in the industry or higher education opportunities.

If you enroll in a formal associate’s degree at a college, you’ll have fulfilled the hourly requirements for licensing, meaning you’ll be able to enter the industry immediately.

Enrolling in a Trade School Helps With an Apprenticeship

What are the Benefits of Registering at a Plumbing Trade School?

Registering for a plumbing certification or degree can be plenty beneficial. Not only does plumbing offer high-paying jobs, but it also delivers the flexibility to work at your own pace and even start your own business.

You can join a plumbing company after graduating and start earning a paycheck immediately. With the low cost of tuition, you also get better returns on your investment. According to BLS, plumbers can make an impressive USD 56,330 per year.

Some schools also offer online plumbing courses and part-time training programs that give you the flexibility and convenience to get an education while honoring existing responsibilities.

Benefits of Registering at a Plumbing Trade School


Plumbing remains a promising career option for students. Although the path to plumbing can be confusing at times, a trade school can help facilitate your introduction to the plumbing industry. Plumbing trade schools are more affordable, offer shorter courses, and allow you to start earning immediately.

The skills, hands-on experience, and training you receive at trade schools can also be applied to an apprenticeship. 

New England Institute of Technology’s Associate Degree in Science in Plumbing and Heating (PLB) will introduce you to the basic theory and practices of heating and plumbing.

Students receive hands-on experience in our laboratory and the opportunity to share classes and collaborate with their peers in architecture, construction management, welding, and other allied professional trades.


Earn your degree in Professional Building Trades from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



How long does it take to become a plumber?

A plumbing apprenticeship program typically lasts anywhere from two to five years. After completing a fixed number of apprenticeship training hours, you can apply for the journeyman license and start working independently.

Do you need to attend a trade school to become a plumber?

Although not mandatory, trade schools provide the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to land plumbing apprenticeships and jobs.

Is being a plumber a good career?

The plumbing industry offers one of the best earning opportunities. In addition to high-paying positions, plumbing also grants you the freedom to work independently. In general, it is considered an incredibly rewarding career path.