How to Become a Plumber in Ohio

Plumbers are essential workers to society, as they install, fix and maintain piping systems for water, gas and other substances. As a plumber, you could work in residential, commercial, construction or government capacities. You’ll find many opportunities in this growing field in Ohio.

Requirements for Becoming a Plumber in Ohio

Ohio has an easier path to becoming a plumber than many other states. Licensing is not required at the state level, although it may be at the local level. Generally, licensing requires passing an exam. Ohio does not require that you become an apprentice plumber before working on your own, which is different from many states, and you are not required to complete an educational program. That said, your local government may have specific requirements you’ll need to meet.

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Plumbing Schools in Ohio

While not required, you may decide to take a plumbing program at a career school or community college, or to join a plumber apprenticeship program. One of these options will teach you the skills and knowledge of the trade. If you decide to take this route, these are some options in the state:

  • Cuyahoga Community College: Through this school in Cleveland, you can gain an Associate of Applied Science degree in Applied Industrial Technology, choosing a plumbing concentration. This course requires that you work as an apprentice through a registered program while participating in the degree program
  • Plumbers Training Institute: This school provides online exam preparation and practice modules to help you learn and prepare for plumbing licensing in Ohio.
  • Ashland County-West Homes Career Center: Learn plumbing technologies through this school in Ashland. You learn plumbing skills such as systems, fixtures and tools, and you gain program certification.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay for a course at a career or community college, while an apprenticeship program will provide paid on-the-job training.

Begin Your Ohio Plumbing Career with an Apprenticeship

Plumbers design, maintain and install the running water and sanitation in our homes and workplaces. It’s a skilled and challenging job, which is strictly regulated in the state of Ohio. While the state itself does not license plumbers, except those who want to undertake commercial jobs worth more than $500,000, individual localities maintain their own licensing departments. The city of Columbus, for example, requires all journeyman, or intermediate-level, plumbers to have completed a United States Department of Labor/Bureau of Apprenticeship Training (USDOL, BAT) certified plumbing apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeship is an old-fashioned sort of word, but the practice is alive and well today. It’s an arrangement where you work for an employer—either a trade union or a private contractor—as an assistant. You’re paid a decent wage, and your employer teaches you the plumbing trade over several years. On-the-job learning is one of the best ways to pick up a new skill, and once you have completed your apprenticeship you’ll have built strong relationships with colleagues and customers in your area.

You can undertake your apprenticeship through a trade union or through a private employer. The United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, and HVAC Service Techshasapprenticeship opportunities throughout the state—for example, here is their apprenticeship program for Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. If you prefer to explore non-union apprenticeships, job websites like Monster or Indeed or company websites are a good lead. Here’s one example from the Roto-Rooter company.

Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Plumber in Ohio

The state of Ohio does not require licensing to become an individual plumber. Instead, local government may require licensing. For example, major Ohio cities of Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and Dayton require licensing from the respective city. This is not an exhaustive list, so check with your city or town on its requirements. If you work in commercial plumbing, you need to be licensed with the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB).

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The average Ohio plumber salary is $61,670 per year or $29.65 per hour, according to Indeed. It’s also common for a plumber to make additional income through overtime pay. The Ohio rate of pay is slightly lower than the national average.

Also, plumbers have a positive job outlook for the decade of 2020 to 2030 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a growth rate of 4 percent for this profession, which it considers much faster than the average job growth rate across all occupations.

Working as a Plumber in Ohio

When you start working as a plumber in Ohio, you have the option to start your own business and work as an independent contractor. Alternatively, you can find employers in Ohio or across the country to hire you for your plumbing expertise. The BLS explains that the main type of employer of plumbers is plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors. Or you could work directly for a manufacturing, government or construction employer.

Plumbers in Ohio make a good income without needing to complete a college degree or educational program. You can start right away with paid on-the-job training under a professional plumber or by going through an educational program.

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