How to Become a Plumber in Washington, D.C.
In a career as a plumber, you would be able to install pipes and piping systems that carry water, gas or other substances. You would also know how to maintain and repair those piping systems. Plumbers work in residences as well as commercial, governmental and construction settings. You would need customer service skills because you would generally work directly with clients. In Washington, D.C., or District of Columbia, many opportunities would be open to you with a career in this growing field.
Requirements for Becoming a Plumber in Washington, D.C.
To begin working as a plumber in Washington, D.C., you begin as an apprentice, which has no requirements for getting started. You reach the next step, a journeyman plumber, by going through an apprenticeship training program or gaining four years of experience and passing an exam. After eight years of experience, you can become a master plumber if you pass another exam.
Training Courses and Educational Programs in Washington, D.C.
Generally, you learn plumbing through an apprenticeship, although you can also find courses in the trade through community or career colleges. Look into apprenticeship programs first because they include classroom training in addition to hands-on training.
These are some of the local District of Columbia educational programs available to you:
- Washington DC Local 5 Plumbers: This is an apprenticeship program through the United Association (UA). After four years of apprenticing, you can take an exam to become a journeyman.
- ABC Metro Washington Associated Builders and Contractors: This is an apprenticeship that combines hands-on training with coursework in plumbing concepts, which comes with a cost for the program.
- Department of Employment Services: You can take an apprenticeship through The Office of Apprenticeship, Information and Training (OAIT).
- Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee: You can gain an apprenticeship with both on-the-job training and classroom training. You would be working with Local Union 26 IBEW.
Licensing for Becoming a Plumber in Washington, D.C.
You need licensing to work as a journeyman or master plumber in Washington, D.C., while it’s not necessary for those starting out as apprentices. Get your licensing through the DC Board of Industrial Trades. To procure your plumbing license, you need the necessary experience for the level you are trying to reach and you need to pass an exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Washington D.C. plumber salaries are significantly higher than the national average at an hourly rate of $34.31 or an annual salary of $71,628, according to Indeed. Plumbers can also expect to make overtime compensation because they tend to work evening and weekend hours. Overtime pay in this area can add up to about $6,750 per year.
Plumbing is also a job with a positive outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a plumber growth rate of 14 percent within the period of 2018 to 2028. This is considered change that’s better than the average across all occupations.
Working as a Plumber in Washington, D.C.
Plumbers generally work for employers. The BLS notes that the top employer of this role is contractors in plumbing, heating and air conditioning. Another option is to work directly for government, commercial or construction employers. Alternatively, you have the choice to work for yourself as an independent contractor who provides plumbing services for clients.
Plumbing provides a steady and growing occupation in Washington, D.C. You can easily start as a paid apprentice and receive on-the-job training. Over time, you can work your way up to gain more money and opportunities in the plumbing field.