How to Become a Plumber in Colorado
If you’re looking for a career that pays well, is always interesting and offers job security, consider becoming a plumber. Plumbers offer an essential service to both residential and commercial customers. You might think of a plumber as someone who fixes leaks and unclogs toilets, but there’s more to the profession than that. You’ll install and repair all types of pipes, read blueprints, follow state and local building codes, install plumbing fixtures and troubleshoot problems with systems that are malfunctioning.
What’s Required to Become a Colorado Plumber?
You’ll need a high school diploma or the equivalent to understand science, mathematical concepts and written communication, and to be able to apply to postsecondary education in a plumbing program. Training to become a Colorado plumber is offered in community colleges, technical schools and vocational schools. Once you’ve competed your classroom training, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship working alongside an experienced plumber for two to five years.
Plumbing programs may cover topics on how to complete standard plumbing services such as:
- Water piping systems
- Building and safety codes
- Pressure piping
- Repair household appliances
- Heating repair and maintenance
- Waste disposal
- Building materials
- Water supply systems
- How to install, maintain, and repair pipes
Training to Become a Plumber in Colorado
Training programs include both classroom and hands-on training covering a variety of information such as plumbing math and measurements, blueprint reading and working with fixtures, faucets and drainage systems. You’ll learn about state codes and regulations.
Some places to obtain plumber training in Colorado include:
- Red Rocks Community College. This community college located in Lakewood, CO, offers a Plumbing Service Certificate consisting of 18.5 credit hours. Students learn piping skills, plumbing service, international plumbing codes and basic electricity and safety.
- Emily Griffith Technical College. This school has partnered with unions and trade organizations to offer plumber apprenticeships. Students have the opportunity to gain needed skills through on-the-job training.
- Construction Industry Training Council. This program in Denver is a four-year apprenticeship program in which students have both classroom and on-the-job training. Each year consists of 144 classroom hours and 2,000 hours on-the-job training.
Getting Started as an Apprentice Plumber in Colorado
Working as a plumbing apprentice is the most common way to start a career in plumbing in Colorado. An apprenticeship is a paid position that provides on-the-job training, working under the direction of a master plumber.
Once you find a position as an apprentice plumber, you’ll need to register with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies within 30y days. When you have a minimum of two years’ experience, you’ll be able to take the test to become licensed as a residential plumber.
As an apprentice plumber, you’ll assist with a variety of plumbing jobs. You’ll gradually learn to install and maintain pipes and fixtures, to inspect and test pipelines and to do plumbing repairs. Once you have four years of experience, you’ll be eligible to sit for the journeyman plumber examination. With more time and experience, you’ll be able to work up to being a master plumber.
Opportunities for apprentice plumbers in Colorado can be obtained through a union program, or in a non-union setting working for a private plumbing company. An example of a union program is Plumbers Local Union 3 in Denver. You can also become an apprentice plumber by attending a training program at a community college or trade school, such as the Construction Industry Training Council in Denver.
Becoming Licensed as a Colorado Plumber
To become licensed as a plumber in Colorado, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship, and apprentices need to register with the State Plumbing Board. Once you have a minimum of two years’ experience, you’re eligible to take the test to become licensed in residential plumbing. Once you have at least four years of practical experience, you’re eligible to test to become licensed as a journeyman plumber. Becoming a master plumber requires 60 months of practical experience and passing a written exam.
Pay and Employment Opportunities for Plumbers in Colorado
Working as a Colorado plumber can be very lucrative. The median wage of plumbers in the United States as of May 2021 was $59,880, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plumbers in Colorado earned an average wage of $59,090 as of July 2020, according to Salary.com. The amount you earn can be affected by where in the state you live and work, how much experience you have and what certifications you’ve attained.
Employment of plumbers across the United States is projected to grow approximately 2 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to CareerOneStop. By comparison, Colorado is expected to enjoy phenomenal job growth of approximately 31 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Job Outlook as a Colorado Plumber
A career as a plumber may be right for you if you like helping people and working with your hands, and if providing a needed skill sounds more interesting to you than sitting at a desk all day. You may need to work nights, days and weekends and be on call to handle emergencies around the clock. You may have to work outdoors in bad weather or squeeze into tight spaces.
You’ll always be learning new things and will never be bored when you have a career as a plumber. Your skills will be in high demand all over the state of Colorado, especially in large cities such as Denver and Colorado Springs.