In most states plumbers are required to have a journeyman’s certification (license) in plumbing from a recognized and accredited post secondary institution. The responsibilities of a plumber are the installation, repairs and maintenance of pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and waste disposal in places such as residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The plumber reads blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing systems, water supply networks and waste and drainage systems. The plumber will then plan, install and service the plumbing systems, fixtures, piping equipment and controls in accordance with state codes and guidelines. These piping systems may be used to transport water, waste, gases or hot liquids.

Working conditions as a plumber vary from job to job. Plumbers may spend long hours outside and/ or in awkward positions, which may cause strain and discomfort. Plumbers are also exposed to certain smells on the job as well associated with sewer and water. Plumbers may also be required to lift and adjust heavy objects and will come in contact with sharp, hot and/or cold supplies and equipment. Plumbers must maintain safety procedures at all times to avoid injury. A plumber must be able to communicate effectively and show decisive decision-making skills.


  • Interpret blueprints and architectural diagrams to correctly position and access systems and access fit to code.
  • Troubleshoot and diagnose problems, including interactions between waste, gas, and water systems.
  • Assemble, weld, bend, thread, and adjust pipes, tubes, valves, and fittings.

Term of Apprenticeship

The term of training for a Plumber will include 8,000 hours (four years) of structured on-the-job learning (OJL), supplemented by the required hours of related instruction, that will lead to successful completion of the required Core Competencies as stated in the Core Competency Requirements. The term of apprenticeship for all plumbers will include at a minimum 144 hours of structured Related Training Instruction (TRI). Full credit will be given for the on-the-job learning evaluated as satisfactory and previous acquisition of the required competencies.

On-the-Job Learning Competencies

  • Interior and exterior underground sanitary and storm sewer or private sewage system work - 1200 hrs
  • Vertical stacks, horizontal lines, and branch lines for soil, waste, and venting piping - 1700 hrs
  • Water supply system - Sizing of lines, selecting of material to use, and job, cross-laying out connection control and water treatment equipment - 1500 hrs
  • Setting and connecting all types of plumbing fixtures and appliances and water treatment equipment - 500 hrs
  • Care and safe use of tools, materials and equipment used on the job. Job lay out and site safety requirements. Driving and operating of equipment used in the job - 500 hrs
  • Industrial, process piping, gas piping, compressed air piping, and chemical piping welding and rigging of equipment - 500 hrs
  • Installing and maintenance of high/low pressure boilers, and chilled water cooling systems - 500 hrs