Becoming a Plumber in Missouri
As one of society’s most crucial infrastructures, plumbing is everywhere, providing homes and businesses with water, waste removal, gas for cooking and heat, and air conditioning. Piping systems deliver medical gasses in hospitals and industrial supplies to manufacturers. There is no exaggeration in stating that without plumbing systems and plumbers to design, build, maintain and repair them, society would be in crisis. The bottom line is that plumbing is essential, making it a viable career choice for future stability.
In order to work as a plumber, you will need to have the physical stamina to do constant physical labor. Plumbers often need to crawl or slide into tight, dimly lit spaces to inspect pipes for problems and make repairs. Plumbers will often need measure, cut, weld and thread pipes. The job requires working with some heavy tools and machinery and carrying supplies to a worksite.
Plumbers will need to undergo extensive training, as the tasks they perform come with a lot of responsibility for public safety. For instance, a plumber will need to know which types of materials to use in specific situations to prevent water contamination or unstable systems. Ongoing knowledge of building codes in the areas where they work is essential, and plumbers will need to engage in ongoing learning as the industry changes continuously.
For those who wish to own and operate a business, it will be essential to have basic business skills such as accounting and marketing. Contractors will need to know how to provide accurate estimates to clients and prepare a bid for a potential project. Communication skills are a must for working with clients and employees.
Missouri Licensing Requirements for Plumbers
Missouri does not have a license requirement or statewide oversight board for plumbers. However, plumbers in municipalities with 15,000 residents or more will be required to receive a certificate in order to work as a Journeyman Plumber or Master Plumber. It will be essential to check for local regulations in the locality in which you plan to work.
Training in Missouri for Plumbers
Plumbers usually train in one of two ways, through an apprenticeship or a training program. In either case, acquiring a high school diploma or equivalent is a prerequisite for study. For potential apprenticeships in your area, this website is an excellent resource. For a training program in Missouri, check the partial list below:
- Ranken Technical College offers a Plumbing Technology Program. This nine-month certificate program teaches students to install, maintain and repair residential plumbing systems. The school provides hands-on training through on-site work at a residential work site.
- Metropolitan Community College offers a Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate in Building Maintenance and Construction. The program provides an overview of the construction trade, including instruction in carpentry, electrical work and HVAC in addition to plumbing.
Finding a Plumbing Apprenticeship in Missouri
Plumbers are essential to modern life, providing much-needed services that allow us to enjoy indoor running water and sanitation. They install plumbing systems in new buildings, repair systems when they fail and maintain plumbing over time.
Becoming a plumber requires learning specific skills. This is best achieved through an apprenticeship, a type of training that allows you to earn an hourly wage while learning how to do the job. Missouri does not have any statewide requirements for training or licensing, but many local governments do. Make sure you understand those requirements before beginning your journey to become a plumber.
While the state does not license plumbers, apprenticeship is still the best and most common way to learn the necessary skills to work in Missouri. Look for positions with your local union, a plumbing contractor in your area, or community and technical colleges.
You can find union apprenticeships throughout the state. These positions are competitive. Some examples include the Local 8 Plumbers & Gasfitters in Kansas City and Plumbers & Pipefitters 562 in St. Louis. To apply for a union position you must have a high school diploma or GED and pass a math exam. Search for more registered apprenticeships on the Missouri jobs site.
Many plumbing contractors also offer apprenticeships. Job sites like Indeed list apprentice positions throughout the state. Check out academic plumbing programs that include hands-on training at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis and Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City.
Earnings and Career Growth for Missouri Plumbers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), wages in the state are above the national average, with plumbers reporting an average annual income of $65,820 in 2019. For comparison, the national average salary in 2019 was $59,800.
Long-range job growth projections also look good, with Projections Central predicting a 10.8 percent increase in plumbers in Missouri over the next 10 years.
Opportunities in Missouri
In Missouri, potential employers include the City of St. Louis, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Army National Guard. However, working as a plumber has a lot of flexibility because the demand is high in a wide variety of industries. As such, you will have the ability to choose what direction you want your career to take. For instance, do you prefer the freedom of self-employment or the stability of a full-time job? Whatever decision you make, this career will help you meet your goals.