How to Start a Career in Plumbing
Plumbing is the perfect career for those who like having a dynamic and changing daily schedule. Say goodbye to 9-5 paperwork; plumbing is for anyone who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty. Not only is there always a demand for a good plumber, plumbers in Ontario also make a good salary. You’ll enjoy working on different tasks each day, learning new things, and having job security for your entire career.
What Do Plumbers Do?
Every building with running water requires a plumbing service at some point. In many cases, it’s urgent when a pipe bursts or freeze. Plumbers install water supply lines to all different appliances throughout the home or commercial space. If you need a faucet repaired, toilet replaced, or drainage line fixed, a plumber is your superhero. Other trades that are often lumped in with plumbing are pipefitting, pipelaying, and sprinkler fitting. New build sites for housing and commercial buildings require a plumber to do the initial install of all the home’s (or business’s) plumbing needs.
Some plumbers work for an established company, others for themselves. There are lots of benefits to joining an existing plumbing company. You don’t have to handle the nitty-gritty paperwork that comes with owning a business. There’s usually a steady influx of jobs to work on and consistent customer inquiries. Especially for a new plumber, there are lots of things you can learn from a team of experienced and highly-skilled plumbing experts.
Is the Plumbing Field Right for You?
Successful plumbers share a handful of traits and skills that allow them to excel at the job. To start, you must be able to meet the physical requirements. Plumbing consists of installing, repairing, and replacing pipes and drainage systems. It can entail heavy lifting and flexibility. If you’ve ever tried to fix a drainpipe at home, you know how small the space under the sink is. Plumbers have to fit in these spaces to correct the problem. They should also have good dexterity. Can you hold the pipe fittings steady as you secure the pipe in place? Can you manipulate the different tiny pieces and tools that plumbers use? Luckily, many of these skills are learned in trade school.
Plumbers often have a healthy initiative and can work independently. They approach problems with a fix-it mindset and don’t shy away from a complicated challenge. Essential problem-solving skills include basic math, project planning, and troubleshooting. Since customers will expect you to be the expert on all things plumbing, it’s your responsibility to know these things. Plumbers must follow safety protocols and local plumbing codes.
A Day in the Life of a Plumber
An average day in the life of a plumber might start with going to a customer consultation. It could be a residential home or a commercial space. You’ll inspect the problem and brainstorm a plan of action. Then, you might have to order supplies for the job. If you work for a plumbing company, you may have supplies ready in a storage area. After returning with the tools you need, you’ll fix the plumbing issue. If you still have time in the day, you’ll head over to the next customer. At some point during the day, you’ll have paperwork and invoices to complete. You may have to return emails or voicemails.
Most plumbers work between 8-10 hours a day. They may also be on-call on evenings and weekends since much of their work is based on urgency. If a customer has a sudden pipe burst on a Sunday afternoon, someone needs to be available to go there and fix it.
Some plumbers work exclusively during business hours, but many do after-hours jobs as well. If you work for a plumbing company, as opposed to being an independent contractor, expect a mix of hours. You could start your day early, or work the overnight shift. Luckily, the compensation for plumbers makes allowance for this; plumbing is one of the highest-paid trades.
Education Requirements and Apprenticeships
To become a plumber you must complete postsecondary education. A high school GED is the first box to check so that you can apply to trade school. If you’re still in high school, focus on taking courses in mathematics, economics, and hands-on trades classes. Once you have your GED, you have two options for Ontario colleges.
First, you could take a one-year certificate program on plumbing theory. These programs are usually a good starting point for you to prepare for your future apprenticeship. You’ll learn plumbing safety protocol, piping methods, tool technique, and some welding skills. How to complete the basic paperwork required for the job may also be taught during the one-year certificate program.
The second option is a Co-op Apprentice Diploma Program. This is usually a 2-year program that combines in-class time and on-the-job training. You may already be an apprentice or are applying to become one. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities decides which Ontario schools can provide this program. It’s up to you to find an employer willing to hire you as an apprentice. To finish your apprenticeship and become a certified plumber, you must complete 9000 hours of work experience and around 720 in-class hours.
Once you’ve completed the required hours of training and learning, you can apply for your certification exam. The exam tests your knowledge of workplace tasks, problem-solving, and plumbing theory. You must score at least 70% on this multiple choice exam to pass. If you pass, you’ll be mailed your full certificate of qualification.
By getting your certificate of qualification, you become a member of the Ontario College of Trades Journeyperson Candidate Class. This membership must be renewed each year to stay valid. Your membership signifies that you are a certified and reliable tradesperson. It’s essential for your reputation in the business and employers.
If you wish to move to another province after certification and continue being a plumber, or if your company sometimes requires Ontario plumbers to work in other provinces, then your best option is to get an Interprovincial Red Seal. The Red Seal certification shows that you adhere to the interprovincial standard of excellence for your trade, and includes technical terms, safety protocols, essential skills, trends, and a glossary of definitions. Having a Red Seal certification will allow you to skip the re-qualification process in another province.
Plumbing Authority Inc. is hiring! We’re looking for people who want to start a career in plumbing and need an employer for their apprenticeship. Complete your certification while learning on-the-job with some of Ontario’s most experienced plumbing professionals. If you need a position to complete your 9000 hours, reach out. We’re hiring both full and part-time service plumbers and excavators in Toronto and the GTA.
Interested? Send your resume to email@example.com.
If you are looking for a plumber in Newmarket, Caledon, or Orangeville, Plumbing Authority Inc. has you covered. We’ve been providing leading-edge plumbing services for over 20 years. Our certified and experienced technicians can assess your house or commercial space’s problem and provide a timely and efficient solution. We’re available 24/7 for drain snaking, plumbing repairs, excavation, and more. No emergency is too big or small. Send us a message or call us today: (647) 992- 7473.