How to Become a Plumber in Hawaii
You might not think about it much, but plumbing is imperative for modern-day living. Where would society be if there was no infrastructure of pipes to provide homes and businesses with basic needs? Without plumbing systems, there would be no water faucets, indoor toilets, cooking gas, electricity or air conditioning. Plumbing is also a significant player in industry, as a system for carrying gasses and other chemicals for manufacturing. In healthcare, medical-grade gasses provide patients with lifesaving treatments and are used frequently in laboratory and diagnostic testing. With plumbing playing such a crucial role in our society, plumbers are always in demand to keep these vital systems functioning.
Plumbers have a great deal of responsibility for public safety and, as such, will need to acquire in-depth knowledge of the trade. For instance, a plumber will need to know which materials can be safely used for various types of plumbing systems, as well as local building regulations. Working in the field requires a lot of physical stamina, as plumbers often have to work in tight spaces, carry supplies and use heavy equipment. Manual dexterity, good communication skills and visual acuity will also be necessary for work in the trade.
Licensing in Hawaii
In Hawaii, it is required for those who practice as plumbers to acquire a license. Licenses are regulated by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing Division’s Board of Electricians and Plumbers. There are two types of plumbing licenses in the state:
- Journey Worker Plumbers must have five years of experience in the field with not less than 10,000 hours of work.
- Master Plumbers must have been licensed as a Journey Worker Plumber in Hawaii or another state for at least two years.
Training for Plumbers in Hawaii
After acquiring a high school diploma or equivalent, you will want to seek an apprenticeship to complete your training in the trade. Opportunities for apprenticeships can be found through various programs, including those listed below:
- University of Hawai’i-Honolulu Community College offers apprenticeship training opportunities in multiple careers including plumbing. Upon completion, the time spent training can be applied toward an associate’s degree.
- Hawaii Laborers’ Apprenticeshipand Training offers a Construction Apprenticeship Program. The program consists of 4,000 hours of on-the-job training with 290 hours of instruction.
- Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., Hawaii Chapter offers apprenticeships in five trades including plumbing. This five-year, 10,000-hour training allows apprentices to earn competitive wages and benefits while learning a trade.
- Plumbers and Fitters UA Local 675 offers an apprenticeship in plumbing and fitting. The program takes five years and 10,000 hours to complete.
More potential apprenticeships can be found here.
Plumber Apprenticeships in Hawaii
Plumbing is a skilled trade, meaning that you will need to complete classroom and on-the-job instruction before working in this field. If you are a resident of the Hawaiian Islands and want to become a plumber, there are some requirements you must meet. First, you need to work at least 10,000 hours as an apprentice before becoming qualified to become a journeyworker, which is the first level of licensure in the state. You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
You can complete an apprenticeship through the state of Hawaii, through a union program or under the supervision of a non-union licensed plumber. You can also complete an apprenticeship program at a college or university.
What are the available options for apprenticeship training in Hawaii? The University of Hawaii-Honolulu Community College is the only college that offers an apprenticeship training program. Not only do you receive training, but the time spent in training is also put toward an associate degree if you wish to continue your education.
If you’re looking for a union training program, the UA Local 675 may be a good fit for you. They offer a five-year apprenticeship program, which includes 10,000 work hours and 10 semesters of classroom instruction. Another option is the program provided by Hawaii Laborers’ Apprenticeship and Training. This program consists of 4,000 hours of on-the-job training and at least 290 lecture hours. You will also receive an increase in pay and benefits as you advance in the program.
Hawaii Wages and Job Growth Expectations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), wages in Hawaii are well above the national average, with plumbers in the state reporting an average annual salary of $72,920 in 2019. For comparison, the average annual salary for the field nationwide was $59,800 that same year.
Job growth expectations in Hawaii are also promising, with a predicted 9.8 percent increase in positions over the next 10 years.
Working as a Plumber in Hawaii
Due to the need for plumbers in all sectors of society, working in the trade can allow you to choose a career that’s tailored to your goals. For some, that could mean working as an independent contractor, while others might want to start a large company of their own. Another option is the stability of a full-time, full-benefits position. Several of the potential employers for plumbers in Hawaii include the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, the State of Hawai’i, Hawaii State Hospital, the Army National Guard and Lowe’s Home Improvement.