How to Become a Plumber in Idaho
The person who fixes a blocked or leaky toilet is a plumber. So is the person who designs the network of pipes that bring water to a modern office building, and the person who brings medical gas pipes to the operating room of a hospital. It’s a skilled profession that requires fortitude, understanding of math and physics and a rigorous understanding of exacting safety regulations. Plumbing takes many years to learn but is a rewarding and valuable lifelong profession.
Requirements for Becoming a Plumber in Idaho
Idaho’s Division of Building Safety registers apprentice plumbers and licenses journeymen and plumbing contractors.
Apprentices must be at least 16 years of age, pay a $50 fee and submit a notarized form.
To qualify as a journeyman, apprentices must have completed four years in a registered program including on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of approved classroom education per year, plus 8,000 hours of on-the-job training supervised by a journeyman or plumbing contractor over the four-year training period. They must also pass a written exam.
To qualify as a plumbing contractor, also known as a master plumber, journeymen must prove two and a half years of plumbing work in Idaho and pass an examination. They must also submit a $2000 surety bond. Plumbing contractors can bid on jobs and design as well as build new plumbing systems.
Plumbing Schools in Idaho
The apprenticeship application form linked above helpfully lists the training programs Idaho will accept for completion of apprenticeships. Here are a few examples:
- College of Southern Idaho‘s four-year program involves paid on-the-job training and classroom education, and will complete your full apprenticeship training requirements. Scholarships are available for the classroom training.
- Idaho State University‘s plumbing program also takes four years and involves a paid apprenticeship, with salary increasing yearly as you learn to perform more complex tasks. The classroom portion will familiarize you with the various types of plumbing as well as the physics and math required for the job.
- The Plumbers and Pipefitters Union in Pocatello, Idaho, administers a joint plumbing apprenticeship program as well as a training program with area employers. Applications can be made online, and the union will directly connect successful applicants with apprenticeships and classroom instruction.
Plumbing Apprenticeships in Idaho
If you’re considering a career as a plumber in Idaho, you must start with a plumbing apprenticeship. This is a good thing, as you are paid a competitive salary while you gain on-the-job training with a licensed plumber. You will complete your apprenticeship with no educational debt and with the experience and knowledge required to take the next step of becoming a licensed journeyman plumber. If you choose to do so, you can then work your way up to the master plumber level.
To become an apprentice, you would register through the Idaho Division of Building Safety. You need to follow certain requirements, including being 16 years of age or older, submitting a notarized form and paying the $50 fee. Your apprenticeship program will provide at least four years of hands-on training supervised by a journeyman or master plumber, as well as 144 hours of classroom training in plumbing subjects.
You have various apprenticeship programs available to you in Idaho. You can pick between union or non-union programs if you have a preference. Non-union ones may be offered through career schools, colleges, companies or other sources. To find local Idaho plumbing apprenticeships, search your area through Google or a job site like Indeed. These are a few of the many available apprenticeships in Idaho:
- CSI Workforce Development & Training plumbing apprenticeship in Twin Falls
- Plumbers & Pipefitters 648 pipe trade apprenticeship in Pocatello
- Idaho State University plumbing apprenticeship in Pocatello
Certification and Licensing for Idaho Plumbers
All apprentices must register at the Idaho Division of Building Safety website, and journeymen and plumber contractors must be licensed. Registration and licensing require meeting the requirements, filling out a notarized form and paying a small registration fee. The examinations for journeymen and plumber contractors also require a fee. Contractors must renew licenses every three years and must complete 16 hours of continuing education every three years.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbing jobs are expected to increase by 30 percent by 2030, much faster than average job growth.
In Idaho, the median hourly rate for plumbers is $22.94, with a median annual salary of $47,710. While this is relatively low compared to other states, Idaho offers a relatively low cost of living.
Working as a Plumber in Idaho
After your four-year apprenticeship, as a journeyman plumber you will be qualified to work for a plumbing contractor of your choice or to go into business for yourself. If you become a plumber contractor, you’ll be able to bid for larger projects and to design plumbing systems.
Plumbers are always in demand, meaning job security and flexibility are available to the right candidate. You can find work via plumbers’ associations, on state and federal job websites or on websites like ZipRecruiter, Monster and Indeed.