How to Become a Plumber in Arkansas
If you like to work with your hands and have been searching for a career opportunity that will give you lasting stability, you might want to consider a career as a plumber. Piping systems are prevalent in nearly all types of buildings, allowing plumbers to enjoy a plethora of opportunities in many different industries. Plumbers will always be needed to keep these essential structures maintained and running optimally.
Working as a plumber will require excellent physical stamina, as plumbing work is strenuous by nature. Visual acuity and manual dexterity will be essential for inspecting and repairing pipes, often while working in tight, dimly-lit spaces. Plumbers will also need to acquire a great deal of knowledge about the materials they work with and the building codes in their local areas.
In Arkansas, you will need to acquire a license through the Arkansas Department of Health in order to work as a plumber. Plumbing licenses in the state are tiered by experience with three levels: Apprentice Plumber, Journeyman Plumber and Master Plumber. Requirements for a Journeyman license include having completed an apprenticeship, with four years of experience in the field. A Master Plumber license can be applied for after holding a Journeyman Plumber license for a period of one year.
Arkansas Plumbing Training
If you have already obtained a high school diploma or equivalent, you are ready to undergo training in the field. There are two ways in which a plumber acquires training: one is through working as an apprentice under a qualified plumber and the other is through attendance in a certified training program. For those who wish to pursue training through an apprenticeship, this website can help you to find an opening in your area. You can also find apprenticeship training through the following course:
- Northwest Arkansas Community College offers a Plumbing Apprenticeship program through its Workforce and Economic Development Program. The program combines 160 hours of evening classroom instruction with 2,000 hours of on-the-job training with a qualified mentor. An Apprentice Plumber license for the state of Arkansas is awarded upon registration.
Become an Apprentice Plumber In Arkansas
Plumbing is a stable career that can’t be relocated abroad—every area of the United States will always need plumbers with solid skills to install, maintain and repair the systems that provide us with running water and sanitation. Plumbers work with complex systems and need to understand how to work with them safely and effectively, so most states—including Arkansas—rigorously license and regulate plumbers.
To become a journeyman plumber in Arkansas, you need to have four years of plumbing experience and to pass a challenging test administered by the state. The most straightforward way to gain your required experience is to become an apprentice plumber. Apprentices sign up with an employer or through a trade union and go directly to work, earning a good wage while gaining essential real-world experience in the field.
As an apprentice, you will have the opportunity to learn all aspects of plumbing by doing the work, closely supervised and supported by experienced plumbers. You’ll also gain crucial industry knowledge by working on real job sites for local clients, building relationships with customers and colleagues that may continue throughout your working life.
You can apply directly for apprenticeships with local employers—job websites like Monster or Indeed are good places to look—or you can explore opportunities with industry associations such as the Arkansas Construction Education Foundation. You can also apply through the plumbing trade union. The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters maintains three training centers and three satellite campuses across the state, offering apprentices a great foundation in the science and mathematics behind plumbing as well as on-the-job training.
Acquiring additional certifications as a plumber is entirely voluntary and likely only worthwhile if you are looking to add a very specific skill to your resume. However, if you do become interested in seeking certification, there is a long list from which you can choose. Acquiring these credentials can help if you are applying for a specific job or wish to fill a niche area in your market.
Salaries and Future Growth
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), plumbers in Arkansas made between $27,450 and $62,390 in 2019. The average wages for the same year were $44,230. Reasonably, those starting out in the field should expect salaries at the lower end of the scale, with the potential for increases in pay as they become more experienced, hold a higher license and apply for better jobs.
The state’s employment growth potential for plumbers is quite good, with a projected 16.4 percent increase in jobs between 2018 and 2028. In job openings, this translates to an average of 480 open positions each year.
Opportunities in Arkansas
According to the BLS, the industries that employ the highest number of plumbers are building equipment contractors, utility system construction companies, non-residential building construction companies, local governments and employment services. In Arkansas, a few potential employers include Arkansas Department of Transportation, Community Health Systems, GEMCO Constructors, Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and the Army National Guard. Wherever you choose to start your career, plumbing should give you the skills you need for long-lasting stability and earning potential.