Becoming a Plumber in Delaware
Plumbing installation and repair services are in constant demand throughout the U.S. That’s true because no home or business can function for long without reliable water and sewer lines. In many places, plumbers also install and maintain residential and commercial gas lines.
As you might guess, experienced plumbers make a good living while putting their hard-earned skills to use. However, you can’t just pick up a set of tools and decide to offer plumbing services. Instead, you must go through a process that’s designed to provide you with a verifiable set of skills. Here’s what you need to know if you hope to work as a plumber anywhere in the state of Delaware.
Plumber Registration and Licensing in Delaware
To get a legitimate plumbing job in Delaware, you must follow rules established by the state’s Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Examiners. This board authorizes two types of plumbers: journeymen and masters. Journeymen have less experience than masters. They also hold a different kind of state permit. Journeymen working in Delaware hold a Journeyman Certificate. The state’s master plumbers hold a Master Plumber License.
Before you can work as a journeyman plumber, you must complete an approved apprenticeship program. In Delaware, these programs are overseen by the state’s Department of Labor and the federal government. All qualifying apprenticeships provide you with either 8,000 hours or four years of plumber training. They also provide you with 144 hours of classroom training. In addition to completing an approved program, you must work two years or more under the guidance of a master plumber.
Unlike some states, Delaware allows you to obtain a master plumber license without ever being formally registered as a journeyman. You can skip the journeyman stage if you do two things. First, you must show proof that you’ve worked for a master plumber for seven years or longer. In addition, you must get a satisfactory score on the state By-Pass Exam.
Plumbers already licensed in Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland can work in Delaware without showing proof of their plumbing experience. That’s because these states have licensing standards that are more or less the same as Delaware’s. You have to submit proof of your experience if you’ve worked as a plumber in any other state.
Becoming an Apprentice Plumber in Delaware
If you’re interested in a career path as a plumber in Delaware, the place to start is a plumbing apprenticeship. This involves working in the field through paid, on-the-job training. You start at this level and, through time, experience and other qualifications, can work your way up to a career as a journeyman and then a master plumber.
An apprenticeship allows you to make income while training to be a plumber. This on-the-job training method offers the benefit of a job that pays well from the start with little to no school debt and steady increases in pay over time. During your apprenticeship, you observe and assist a licensed journeyman or master plumber and also participate in classroom training to gain more in-depth plumbing knowledge.
While some states require up to 10,000 hours of apprentice training, Delaware requires 8,000. You also participate in 144 hours of classroom education. Generally, these programs last for four years.
To find a plumbing apprenticeship program in Delaware, check the Delaware Department of Labor’s information on participating employers or go through Workforce Delaware. Other options are to search for location-specific opportunities through job boards like Indeed or through a Google search. Examples of available programs include the Plumbers & Steamfitters Apprenticeship Program in Seaford or the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 74 apprenticeship in Newark.
Delaware Plumber Apprenticeship Options
There are some important financial rewards to joining a plumber apprenticeship program in Delaware. Graduates of these programs usually earn high wages when they move on to journeyman and master positions. In fact, typical former apprentices make about $300,000 more during their working life than plumbers who never held jobs as apprentices.
The state’s Department of Labor maintains a list of apprenticeships offered by working master plumbers. You can check your current options on a county by county basis. You can also enroll as an apprentice in an institution-based training program. Institutions offering such programs include:
- Delaware County Community College – DCCC’s part-time apprenticeship program provides you with four years of in-depth plumbing training. Graduates are ready to take the exam for journeyman certification.
- New Castle County Vo-Tech School District Adult Education Division – This institution offers a series of four plumbing courses. Each course exposes you to more and more of the skills needed by experienced plumbers.
Salary Expectations for Plumbers in Delaware
The typical licensed Delaware plumber makes about $57,000 a year. Most plumbers make an annual salary in the range of $44,000 to $64,000. However, the highest-paid masters make $90,000 or more per year. As a beginning plumber, you can expect to earn much lower wages than others with more experience.
Job Outlook for Plumbers in America
Generally speaking, new plumbers can look forward to a high demand for their skills. Plumbers belong to a segment of the labor market that will grow by about 14 percent between 2018 and 2028. This kind of sustained growth is uncommon in the U.S. workforce.