How to Become a Plumber in Alabama

Plumbers install plumbing fixtures, repair and replace pipes, remove drain obstructions and maintain septic systems. Plumbing is a career that is considered high in demand since many experienced plumbers are retiring, and there aren’t enough skilled workers to take their place. Whether it’s installing plumbing fixtures or pipes in a new home or repairing leaky pipes or a clogged septic system, all homes and most other buildings require the help of a plumber at some point.

There are specific guidelines to follow to become a plumber in each state. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to work as a plumber in Alabama.

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Requirements to Become a Plumber in Alabama

To work as a plumber in the state of Alabama, first you must have a high school diploma or GED. You should also have essential reading, writing, math and science skills. Furthermore, you will probably also need a valid driver’s license and be able to pass a background check. Then you will need to either complete a plumber’s apprenticeship training program or find a licensed journeyman or master plumber who will supervise you and let you work under them as an apprentice for at least two years. You will have to have at least two years’ experience as an apprentice before you can become licensed as a journeyman and then work your way up to a master plumber.

Plumbing Schools in Alabama

There are a few community colleges and vocational schools in the state that offer plumber training programs. There is even an online option. Here is an overview of what training is available for aspiring plumbers in Alabama:

  • Lawson State Community College. Lawson State has campuses in Birmingham and Bessemer. The plumbing program at Lawson State consists of 28 credit hours and can be completed in about a year. Students will be given an apprentice card when entering the program and will be eligible to sit for the journeyman license exam upon graduation.
  • Calhoun Community College. The Huntsville campus of Calhoun Community College offers an NCCER Basic Plumbing program. The program can be completed in about seven months, and classes are offered at night so that students can work during the day.
  • Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Alabama online program. The APHCC offers an entirely online training program for apprentice plumbers and heating and cooling contractors. Those interested will need to complete an apprenticeship application for the program and then pay tuition once they are accepted. With the program being online, this gives the students the flexibility of being able to work and still complete training.

Plumbing Apprenticeships in Alabama

If you live in Alabama and are interested in becoming a plumber, you will need to complete a plumbing apprenticeship first. To work as a licensed journeyman and master plumber in the state, you need at least two years’ experience as a plumber’s apprentice. Working under a licensed plumber as an apprentice is critical because you need the on-the-job training.

In Alabama, there are a few ways you can train as an apprentice plumber. First, you need to register as an apprentice with the state by filling out a registration form and paying an application fee. This form can be found on the Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Alabama (APHCC) website. Then you can find an apprenticeship program offered either by a local union, a non-union plumber, or community or technical colleges.

Apprenticeship programs are also offered through the state. Here are a few of your options:

  • Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of AlabamaNot only does the APHCC have the apprenticeship registration form you need, they also offer an online training program for apprentice plumbers.

  • UA Local 119The UA Local 119, located in Mobile, has a five-year apprenticeship program in which students attend classes two nights a week and complete training in plumbing, welding, HVAC and pipefitting. Apprentices in this union receive a raise every six months.

  • Lawson State Community College —With campuses in Birmingham and Bessemer, LSCC offers a plumbing training program that can be completed in about a year. Students entering this program must either join a local union or find a non-union company to work for while enrolled in the program. After completing the program and working for a year, they will be able to take the exam to get their journeyman license.

Licensing or Certification for Plumbers

You must be licensed to work as a plumber in the state of Alabama. There are three levels of licensure or certification for plumbers in Alabama: apprenticeship, journeyman and master plumber. To become an apprentice plumber, you don’t have to complete an exam, but you will need to fill out a registration form and pay a fee of $25, and then renew it annually for $10. Then you will need to find a registered journeyman or master plumber to work for to complete your apprenticeship. Or, you may also complete one of the training programs mentioned above.

To become a licensed journeyman plumber, you must first work at least two years as an apprentice plumber or complete an apprenticeship program. You will then need to take and pass the journeyman plumber’s exam given by the State of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board. You will also need to pay a $110 license fee and then pay $30 annually to renew your license.

Once you have worked for at least a year as a journeyman plumber, you can take the exam to become a master plumber. When you pass the exam, you will need to pay a $160 license fee and then pay $125 annually to renew it.

Journeyman and master plumber exams are offered in Alabama in the cities of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery. Unfortunately, the state of Alabama does not reciprocate plumbers’ licenses. This means that even if you have a journeyman or master plumber’s license in another state, you will still need to get an Alabama plumber’s license to work in the state.

Salary and Job Opportunities for Plumbers

The salary data for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in Alabama reveals some distinct differences when compared to national figures. In the United States, the average annual salary for this occupation is approximately $60,090. The salaries vary significantly, with the lowest 10% earning about $37,250 and the highest 10% earning upwards of $101,190.

In contrast, within Alabama, the average annual wage is notably lower at $48,190. The lowest 10% of workers in this field earn around $30,740, while the top 10% can earn as much as $65,450. This indicates a narrower salary range in Alabama compared to the broader national scale.

National vs. Alabama Salary Comparison

Location 10% Low 25% Low Median 75% High 90% High
United States $37,250 $46,630 $60,090 $78,960 $101,190
Alabama $30,740 $38,090 $48,190 $61,050 $65,450

Salaries by Regions in Alabama

Region 10% Low 25% Low Median 75% High 90% High
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL $30,070 $36,540 $45,390 $54,480 $64,700
Birmingham-Hoover, AL $31,590 $39,120 $49,270 $61,390 $65,940
Decatur, AL $31,210 $39,800 $54,330 $63,350 $95,950

Plumbing Trends in Alabama

The employment landscape for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in Alabama is projected to see significant growth over the decade from 2020 to 2030. The number of employees in this field was 6,980 in 2020, with an expected increase to 7,520 by 2030. This represents an 8% growth rate, which is notably higher than the national average growth rate of 2% for the same period.

Each year, Alabama is projected to have around 790 job openings in this sector, which includes positions due to both growth and replacements. This contrasts with the national scene, where there are projected to be 42,600 annual openings from 2022 to 2032. This substantial number of openings nationally reflects the larger scale of the U.S. workforce and the broader demand across states.


Location Employment (Start of Period) Projected Employment (End of Period) Projected Growth Projected Annual Job Openings
Alabama 6,980 (2020) 7,520 (2030) 8% 790
United States 482,700 (2022) 493,600 (2032) 2% 42,600

Sources of data:

  1. State Data: The projections for this State from 2020 to 2030 are provided by Projections Central, which offers long-term projections for occupational employment.
  2. United States Data: The nationwide employment projections from 2022 to 2032 are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which regularly publishes detailed employment projections for a wide range of occupations across the United States.

Working as a Plumber in Alabama

Plumbers read blueprints in addition to installing and repairing fixtures and pipes. As a master plumber, you’ll probably provide estimates for the work you’ll be doing for your clients. As a plumber, you’ll often have to work outdoors and sometimes in small spaces. You will work during the day as well as nights and weekends. You might also have to answer emergency calls like taking care of a flooded bathroom or a busted pipe.

Plumbers are needed across the state since everyone will most likely depend upon the help of a plumber eventually. However, you might find more work in the more populated cities like Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.

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