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.

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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.

Plumbing Schools in Arkansas

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.

Additional Certifications

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

The data for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in Arkansas reveals a significant variance in salaries when compared to the national averages. Nationally, the average annual salary stands at $60,090, with the lowest 10% earning around $37,250 and the highest 10% surpassing $101,190. In contrast, the average salary in Arkansas is notably lower at $45,980. The lowest 10% in Arkansas earn approximately $30,560, while the top 10% earn up to $63,120. This indicates a more compressed salary range within the state compared to the broader national spectrum.

National vs. Arkansas Salary Comparison

Location 10% Low 25% Low Median 75% High 90% High
United States $37,250 $46,630 $60,090 $78,960 $101,190
Arkansas $30,560 $36,390 $45,980 $51,720 $63,120

Salaries by Regions in Arkansas

Region 10% Low 25% Low Median 75% High 90% High
East Arkansas nonmetropolitan area $25,260 $31,080 $42,340 $50,700 $60,410
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO $31,080 $37,930 $48,210 $51,220 $64,180
Fort Smith, AR-OK $30,670 $35,250 $44,360 $49,270 $61,550

Plumbing Trends in Arkansas

The employment outlook for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in Arkansas shows a positive trend for the decade from 2020 to 2030. Initially, in 2020, there were 3,570 individuals employed in this sector within the state. By 2030, this number is projected to rise to 3,770, marking a growth rate of 6%. This growth is indicative of a steady demand for skilled workers in these trades across the state.

Annually, Arkansas expects to have about 390 job openings in this field, which includes new positions due to growth and replacements for vacated positions. This figure contrasts with the national trend, where the projected growth rate is lower, at only 2% from 2022 to 2032, but with a significantly higher number of job openings estimated at 42,600 annually, reflecting the larger workforce and broader industrial activities across the United States.


Location Employment (Start of Period) Projected Employment (End of Period) Projected Growth Projected Annual Job Openings
Arkansas 3,570 (2020) 3,770 (2030) 6% 390
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.

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.

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