How to Become a Plumber in Kansas
Plumbers are highly skilled tradespeople. Every day, they tackle a variety of important tasks. These tasks include the installation of water and sewer services on private and commercial building sites. Plumbers also perform routine maintenance on these systems. In addition, they perform all manner of necessary repairs.
Kansas has different guidelines for plumbers than most other states. These guidelines make it relatively easy to start working in the plumbing trade. Still, you must know the rules in order to work legally. Use this guide as a resource for planning your future career as a Kansas plumber.
Kansas Licensing Requirements for Plumbers
In most parts of the U.S., you must obtain a state-level license to work as a plumber in your area. This is not the case in Kansas. However, there are specific jurisdictions within the state that do require you to get a license before working as a plumber. These jurisdictions include Johnson County, Kansas’ most heavily populated region. You must also get a license to work in the City of Manhattan, Kansas.
To work as a plumber in Johnson County, you must obtain a Class DP Plumbing Contractor license. Anyone applying for this license must present proof of their plumbing qualifications. You can do this in either of two ways. First, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas:
- Construction management
- Construction science
Your degree program must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or the American Council for Construction Education. As an alternative to getting your bachelor’s, you can gain your license by passing a plumbing exam approved by the county’s Contractor License Review Board.
To work as a plumber in Manhattan, you must obtain an Individual Trade license or a Plumbing Contractor license. Manhattan uses a traditional classification scheme for plumbers. You begin by training as an apprentice. When you gain two years of experience, you can sit for your journeyman plumber’s exam. Journeymen must work an additional two years before they can sit for their master plumber’s exam. Plumbing contractors can work on large-scale projects not available to other plumbing professionals.
Plumber Training in Kansas
While you don’t need a license to work as a plumber in all areas of Kansas, it still makes sense to seek out the best training possible. A solid background in the trade helps ensure that you do good work and look appealing to potential employers. Places in the state where you can get trained as a plumber include:
- Plumbers & Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training of Kansas – This organization provides training in all aspects of general plumbing. It takes five years to complete the apprenticeship. During that time, you’ll work on real job sites and take 280 hours of formal classes each year.
- Associated Builders and Contractors Heart of America – This group offers an apprenticeship program focused on real-world training opportunities. Their program connects you with certified professionals and contractors looking to train apprentices.
- Johnson County Community College – JCCC offers plumbing classes for everyone from do-it-yourselfers to experienced journeymen. Both on-campus and online course are available.
Plumbing Apprenticeships in Kansas
Apprenticeships are common in the plumbing industry. That’s true because plumbing is a complex skill that requires time and experience to master. Some states have apprenticeship guidelines that apply in all counties and municipalities. However, that’s not the case in Kansas. Instead, you must only meet local rules for working plumbers.
Formal apprenticeship is required in just one Kansas jurisdiction: the City of Manhattan. A second jurisdiction, Johnson County, requires you to demonstrate your plumbing capabilities before you start working. However, you don’t need to become a formal apprentice to meet the county’s requirements.
In Manhattan, you must work as an apprentice for two years. After gaining this level of experience, you can take the exam needed to work as a journeyman plumber. Once you pass this exam, you must work at the journeyman level for an additional two years. With that qualification under your belt, you can take Manhattan’s master plumber exam.
There are two main options for formal apprenticeship programs for Kansas plumbers. The first is Plumbers & Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training of Kansas. To complete this program, you must undergo a full five years of plumbing training. Most of your time will be spent on real-world job sites. However, you’ll also need to finish 280 hours of classroom training.
The second program is offered by Associated Builders and Contractors Heart of America. This program works by connecting you with specific businesses that take on apprentices. It focuses heavily on on-the-job training.
How Much Do Kansas Plumbers Make?
The average yearly salary for a Kansas plumber is about $54,500. This is significantly lower than the national average of $60,000. However, newcomers to the field make more in Kansas than they do in quite a few other states. This means you can earn a solid income even before you build up years of work experience.
Plumber Employment Prospects
Some sectors of the U.S. job market are in decline. However, that’s not the case for the plumbing industry. In fact, plumbers form part of one of America’s fastest-growing employment categories. While not everyone will succeed, it’s fair to say that most plumbers will find ample chances to work in the foreseeable future.