Becoming a Plumber in Georgia
In Georgia and elsewhere, plumbers play a crucial role in everyday public and private life. Their services include the installation of water and sewer systems. They also repair those same systems when problems occur after installation. Plumbers may also work on natural gas connections at homes and businesses.
Given the essential services they provide, it’s not surprising that plumbers typically get paid well. Like their peers in other parts of the country, Georgia plumbers can count on generous salaries. As a rule, they can also count on abundant work opportunities. However, to enter the plumbing field in Georgia, you must follow a detailed process established by the state. Use the information in this guide to learn more about that process and prepare yourself for a plumbing career.
Licensing and Training Requirements for Georgia Plumbers
In Georgia, there are three levels of plumbing professionals: journeymen, Class I masters and Class II masters. You need a state-issued license to hold any of these positions. The agency responsible for issuing plumbing licenses is the Georgia State Construction Industry Licensing Board’s Division of Master Plumbers and Journeyman Plumbers.
To get your journeyman plumber’s license, you must first spend three years apprenticing to a Class I or Class II master plumber. When you complete your apprenticeship, you can make a request to take your journeyman’s licensing exam. Be aware that journeymen can’t set up their own plumbing businesses. Instead, they must work for a master plumber.
A Georgia Class I master’s license entitles you to provide independent plumbing services for residences and smaller commercial buildings. To obtain this license, you must have a total of at least five years of experience in the plumbing field. During two of these years, you must work regularly as a licensed journeyman plumber.
Only a Class II master can work on large commercial and industrial projects in Georgia. To get your Class II license, you must work in the plumbing field for at least five years. As with the Class I category, you must spend two of these years as a licensed journeyman. In addition, you must have a documented history of working on industrial or commercial job sites.
Plumbing Schools in Georgia
Much of the training received by Georgia plumbers occurs on the job while working as an apprentice. However, there are still formal training programs available in many parts of the state. Institutions offering these programs include:
- Albany Technical College Plumbing – The school’s Plumbing Technology program is designed for people starting out in the plumbing field. It focuses on providing the skills and theoretical background needed to stand out from other apprentice applicants. While enrolled, you will receive a total of 42 hours of instruction.
- Plumbers, Pipefitters & HVAR Technicians Local Union 72 – This Atlanta-based group offers a comprehensive apprenticeship program. Over the course of five years, participants receive 246 hours of classroom training. They also receive between 1,700 and 2,000 hours of practical work experience. All training is provided by seasoned professionals.
- Plumbers Training Institute – This company specializes in online training programs. The Institute offers an extensive prep course for anyone seeking a journeyman’s license. It also offers coursework for those seeking a master’s license.
Plumbing Apprenticeships in Georgia
Plumbing is a skilled trade. Plumbers often learn their skills through apprenticeship, a work and training model that allows you to earn a living while becoming a licensed professional. In an apprenticeship, you’ll learn how to install, maintain and repair plumbing systems working side-by-side with a master plumber.
Georgia licenses three levels of plumber: journeyman, class I master and class II master. To become a licensed journeyman, you must apprentice with a class I or II master plumber and pass an exam. Once a journeyman, you can work for plumbing business and toward a master license. Georgia issues licenses through the State Construction Industry Licensing Board’s Division of Master Plumbers and Journeymen Plumbers.
You have several options for a plumbing apprenticeship in Georgia, including union and non-union positions and college programs. A search on job sites like Indeed or Monster will turn up several opportunities. For instance, this listingis for an apprenticeship with Mr. Rooter in Macon.
Some colleges offer plumbing diploma or degree programs like this one at Albany Technical College. A plumbing program provides a leg up in getting an apprenticeship position, which can be highly competitive.
In Atlanta, the Plumbers Pipefitters HVACR Technicians Local Union 72 offers apprenticeships with both classroom learning and on-the-job training. The program takes five years to complete and provides at least 8,500 hours of job training as well as 1,200 classroom hours. You will be ready to become a journeyman plumber upon completion.
How Much Can You Make as a Georgia Plumber?
Current research from ZipRecuiter.com shows that the average salary for a journeyman plumber in Georgia is about $55,890 a year. Some journeymen make as much as $78,940 or more. Master plumbers working in the state make an average of $56,000 a year. The highest paid masters make annual salaries in the range of $80,000 to 90,000. Apprentices can expect to receive a much lower level of income while developing their skills.
Job Outlook for Plumbers
Plumbers belong to a booming category in the U.S. labor market. This category also includes pipefitters and steamfitters. By 2030, there will be tens of thousands of new openings available nationwide for these highly trained professionals. This means that you can likely look forward to long-term employment if you get your plumber’s license in Georgia.