To become a water heater expert, you must become a plumber first. And if you are looking to start the career in the plumbing trade in the United States, be sure it is a good choice. Plumbers are among the fastest growing jobs for the period 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages are above the national averages, and employees are highly satisfied with their position.
Let's go, then, step by step through the whole process.
The most important part of your education is a plumbing apprenticeship.
However, the very first question is: What American state are you in? Typically, you need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to get into an apprenticeship, but each state has specific requirements, already on the admission. In addition, some training centers have their own criteria.
Just to mention a few of them, as an illustration.
The minimum required age is 18 or 16 years. In some states it is compulsory for the applicant to hold a valid driving license, even to have its own transportation, pass a drug test, submit a letter of recommendation...
Plumbing apprenticeship program includes on-the-job training with licensed journeyman or master plumber and theoretical classroom training. Local plumber’s unions usually organize both, but you can also sign a contract with the private plumbing company and take a course in a trade school. School classes include CAD and drafting, blueprint reading, mathematics, courses in chemistry and applied physics, state plumbing codes and regulations, and OSHA safety training.
The minimum duration of the registered apprenticeship program and its parts varies from state to state. Commonly, one will need 5 years to finish this phase.
Don’t be surprised if it is required, after applying, to pass an Aptitude test. It often includes algebra, geometry, physics, and English reading and writing. Normally there will also be an interview about your expectations, desires, ambitions, interests...
Once you have finished the apprenticeship program, the next step is to take the Journeyman plumber exam and become a journeyman plumber. There are some prerequisites for taking a test, as a signed affidavit from your supervisor and confirmation about classroom hours.
Again, journeyman exams vary by state. Generally, you will need a good knowledge of plumbing systems installation, repair, and maintenance, along with state and federal plumbing codes and regulations.
With the journeyman license, you are ready for a job hunt, but be aware that an important enrichment for your further career may be additional training, course or vocational specialization.
If you want to become an expert, work as a journeyman, collect experience, and take yet another test – Master plumber exam. Usually, two years of practice is enough to gain new knowledge. On that level, advanced installation, maintenance, and repair skills are required, as well as knowledge in managing major plumbing jobs. Local plumbing codes are also a must.
Master plumber license opens many doors in the career.
You can be a contractor, employer, supervisor, coordinator, the master plumber in big projects, or you can decide to start your own business and work for yourself. Greater responsibilities mean higher salaries, too.
Remember: At each point of your plumbing career, you may decide to become specialized for water heaters. It is on you to search for additional resources and training, get expertise, and offer your services to the market.