Become a Plumber in Arizona
Plumbing is an essential skilled trade, and every home and business needs the service of a plumber sooner or later. If you become an Arizona plumber, you’ll have the skills to install plumbing fixtures, repair or replace pipes, clean drains, clear obstructions and help maintain septic systems. Your skills will be in high demand, and you’ll have one of the highest paid occupations in the construction industry.
Requirements to Become a Plumber in Arizona
Obtaining a high school diploma or the equivalent is the first thing you need to do to become a plumber in Arizona. A basic knowledge of math, science, reading and writing are an important foundation for any skilled trade. You’ll need a valid driver’s license, and you’ll need to be drug-free and able to pass a criminal background check.
The next step is to enroll in a plumbing training program to learn the technical skills needed for this career. You’ll be required to spend four to five years working as an apprentice to gain the expertise needed to become licensed in this state.
Where to Get Training to Become a Plumber in Arizona
Technical plumbing training programs in Arizona are offered at trade institutions, vocational schools and community colleges. At these programs, some of what you’ll learn includes blueprint reading, local codes and regulations and information on safety. Some plumbing training programs in Arizona include:
- Gateway Community College. This community college offers a Certificate of Completion in Construction Trades – Mechanical Trades: Plumbing, at their Washington campus in Phoenix. Students select from 24-48 credits and learn safety, basic and advanced plumbing calculations, material selection, plumbing code, blueprint reading and more.
- Pima Community College. Located in Tucson, this college offers a certificate in Plumbing. Students receive hands-on practice for plumbing and pipefitting, installing and maintaining pipe fixtures and systems, pipe-joint connections, reading blueprints and learning applicable codes and standards.
Becoming an Apprentice Plumber in Arizona
Plumbing is a valuable and meaningful career, in which you’ll be a part of the fabric of civilization. Although you’ll be working both inside and out of doors, sometimes in cramped, cold or hot conditions, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your work is an essential part of modern life. Due to the importance of having reliable, safe plumbing systems, plumbers are regulated in most U.S. states, including Arizona.
Arizona issues plumbing licenses to contractors, who must have four years of experience in the field and must pass two tough exams—a technical exam on plumbing and an exam on business management. One of the best ways to obtain your necessary years of experience is to become a plumbing apprentice.
Apprentices commit to work for an employer for a number of years and receive a decent wage, learning and performing all the tasks involved in plumbing under the direct supervision of experienced, licensed plumbers. You’ll learn everything you need to know, plus you’ll have the opportunity to build connections with local colleagues and customers and to get to know the industry in your area.
The state apprenticeship office is a good place to look for available apprenticeships—remember, pipefitting, steam and sprinkler work also come under plumbing. Private firms often hire apprentices, advertising roles on job websites such as Indeed or ZipRecruiter. You can also contact local branches of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, like this Phoenix local. They form joint apprenticeship committees with area employers to ensure there are plenty of apprentices becoming plumbers each year.
Licensing or Certification of Arizona Plumbers
Once you’ve completed an apprenticeship, you’re considered a journeyman plumber. This means you’ve demonstrated the skills to be able to work independently and you’re eligible to take an exam to become licensed.
In Arizona, you can choose to pursue a license as either a residential plumber or a commercial plumber. To obtain one of these licenses, you’ll need to pass both a Business Management Exam and a Trade Exam. Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship and passed your exams, you’re eligible to apply for a contractor’s license through Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
Salary and Job Opportunities for Plumbers in Arizona
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of May 2019, plumbers in the United States earned a median annual wage of $55,610. In the state of Arizona, pay ranged between $49,429 and $65,017 as of July 2020, with the average plumber salary in the state at $56,830 per year according to Salary.com.
Plumbers are always in high demand. Across the U.S., employment for this field is projected to grow approximately 14 percent between 2018 and 2028. In Arizona, employment for plumbers is projected to be even higher at 34 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Working as an Arizona Plumber
As an Arizona plumber, you’ll read blueprints, install fixtures and pipes, determine materials needed for a job and provide estimates to clients. Your work may have to be done outdoors or in tight spaces, and you may need to work during days, nights and weekends as well as addressing emergency situations at all hours.
If you can’t imagine a career sitting behind a desk all day and enjoy troubleshooting malfunctioning systems and finding solutions, working as an Arizona plumber may be your ideal job. Opportunities continue to grow across the whole state, especially in the larger cities such as Phoenix and Tucson.