How to Become a Plumber in Louisiana
It’s safe to say that modern life would be impossible without the existence of plumbers. If you plan to build a new home or commercial property, these trained specialists provide the installation services needed for water, sewer and gas lines. And when things inevitably go wrong, a plumber can provide prompt, accurate repair services as well.
As an essential trade, plumbing provides a ready source of income for professionals working throughout Louisiana. The trade also offers job stability and the chance to perform varied work tasks from day to day. Considering becoming a Louisiana plumber? This guide will help you get an overview of the profession and the steps you’ll need to take before you can start working.
Louisiana Licensing Requirements for Plumbers
There are two options for getting started in the plumbing profession in Louisiana. First, you can enroll in an apprenticeship program approved by the state’s Plumbing Board. As an alternative, you can gain experience working with a licensed plumber. You need to work for five years or a total of 8,000 hours to advance your career past this stage. To join an apprenticeship program or work for a plumber, you must be at least 16.
There are several types of licensing classifications in Louisiana, including:
- Journeyman plumbers
- Master plumbers
- Tradesman plumbers
- Medical gas plumbers
To get your journeyman’s license, you must complete an approved apprenticeship or meet the equivalent work experience requirement. In addition, you must pass your journeyman plumber exam. To take the exam, you must submit an application signed by three licensed plumbers.
Master plumbers can operate their own businesses in Louisiana. To earn your master’s license, you must first get your journeyman’s license. In addition, you must hold a journeyman’s position under a master plumber for at least five years.
In Louisiana, tradesmen are residential plumbing repair specialists. They can only work under the supervision of a master plumber. A tradesman’s license does not allow you to carry out tasks reserved for journeymen.
Medical gas plumbers install and repair specialized gas systems for healthcare facilities. To perform this work in Louisiana, you must get certified in a state-approved training course. You must also go through an application process.
Getting Trained in Louisiana
Not everyone who joins the plumbing profession in Louisiana takes an apprenticeship course. Instead, some people get the equivalent experience while working for a licensed plumber. If you do choose to join an apprenticeship program, your in-state options include:
- The New Orleans Pipe Trades Apprenticeship Program – This no-cost program is offered by the United Association’s Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60. It provides you with five years of paid experience working as a plumber’s apprentice. Graduates also accumulate 32 college credits toward a technical degree.
- The PHCC of Louisiana Apprenticeship Program – This program is offered by Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Louisiana. It provides the 8,000 hours of work experience needed to sit for your journeyman’s exam. During each semester of the program, you’ll also receive 72 hours of classroom instruction.
Apprenticeship Louisiana provides a list of additional options for approved plumber apprenticeships within the state.
Plumbing Apprenticeships in Louisiana
Apprenticeships are common in the skilled trade industries. That includes the plumbing industry. Depending on where you live, laws or regulations may include formal guidelines for all plumbing apprentices. Such guidelines may only apply to some cities or counties. However, they may also apply to the entire state.
In Louisiana, rules for plumbing apprentices are statewide. To begin with, all apprentices must register with the State Plumbing Board. Once you’re registered, you have a couple of options for advancing from an apprenticeship to a higher status as a plumber. One option is to seek work with a plumber already licensed by the state. Alternatively, you can sign on for a state-approved apprenticeship program. Whichever option you choose, you must either:
- Gain a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience
- Spend five years as at the apprentice level
How can you find a suitable apprenticeship program? One important resource is Apprenticeship Louisiana. This organization maintains a database of businesses approved for apprentice training.
If you plan to join a program instead of apprenticing with an employer, you have several options available. For example, you can enroll in the program created by PHCC of Louisiana, an association of plumbing, heating and cooling contractors. This program combines classwork with the required 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.
Another option is the United Association’s Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 60apprenticeship program. This free, New Orleans-based program delivers the required five years of apprentice training. It also provides you with a working wage.
Earnings Range for Louisiana Plumbers
The average annual income for a Louisiana plumber is roughly $55,500. Earnings for some plumbers are in the mid- to upper-$20,000s. The state’s best-paid professionals make more than $87,000 a year. Locations that offer the most lucrative wages for plumbers include Mandeville and Slidell.
State of the Plumber Industry
Plumbers belong to a robust sector of the U.S. job market. Every year, thousands of new positions open up, and growth for this sector is projected at 14 percent through 2028. While jobs aren’t guaranteed for anyone, this forecast puts the American plumbing industry on firm footing.