How to Become a Plumber in Rhode Island

From small towns to huge metropolises, you’ll find plumbers on the job on any given day of the week. From installations to standard and emergency repairs, these hardworking pros provide services that build and maintain the nation’s infrastructure. Such services can cover everything from water and sewer lines to gas lines and irrigation systems.

In Rhode Island, plumbers work at all levels of residential and commercial construction and repair. Their average salaries reflect the importance of the work they do. However, not just anyone can set up shop as a Rhode Island plumber. You can only work in this field if you follow the state’s established procedures. The information contained in this guide is designed to clarify these procedures and help you launch your new career.

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How to Get Licensed as a Rhode Island Plumber

All would-be plumbers and irrigation specialists in Rhode Island must follow rules set down by the state’s Division of Workforce Regulation and Safety. These rules require you to start out as an apprentice in an accredited training program. Once you begin, you have five years to complete your chosen apprenticeship. During that time, you must receive a total of 576 hours of training, including some plumbing theory. Graduates receive a completion certificate from the state’s Department of Labor and Training. This certificate allows you to sit for your journeyperson plumber’s or irrigator’s exam.

Rhode Island licenses both journeyperson and master plumbers and irrigators. To qualify as a journeyperson, you must show proof that you’ve received your 576 hours of instruction. In addition, you must work under a licensed plumber/irrigator for at least five years. To qualify as a master, you must meet all the standards for apprentice and journeyman plumbers or irrigators. You must also work as a journeyperson for at least a year and pass your master’s exam.

Rhode Island also offers a master contractor’s license. You must hold one of these licenses to operate a plumbing contractor business in the state. Every two years, you must re-register to renew your contractor’s license.

Getting Trained in Rhode Island

There are two aspects to apprentice plumber training in Rhode Island. First, you must take on a paid job with a plumber currently licensed in the state. Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training is responsible for operating the Registered Apprenticeship program. This program helps you connect with employers whose training meets state standards. Use its resources to find options in your area.

In addition, you must receive classroom instruction in plumbing from an accredited institution. Examples of institutions that offer accredited programs include:

  • The Rhode Island Master Plumber & Mechanical Association (RIMPMA) – RIMPMA’s nonprofit apprenticeship program covers the classroom topics needed to meet the requirements for apprentice certification. The organization also offers additional perks, such as training seminars and field trips to plumbing manufacturers. In addition, RIMPMA offers a pipefitting apprenticeship.
  • Community College of Rhode Island’s Division of Workforce Partnerships – CCRI has moved all of its coursework online to provide maximum safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The school provides classroom instruction suitable for each year of your apprenticeship.

Range of Pay for Rhode Island Plumbers

Licensed plumbers in Rhode Island earn salaries that equal the national average of $60,000 a year. Most of the state’s plumbers have incomes that fall between the mid-$40,000s and the upper $60,000s. The lowest annual salaries (typical for newcomers) fall around $30,000. The highest exceed $95,000.

Employment Outlook for America’s Plumbers

Plumbing and the related professions of steam fitting and pipe fitting are in good health in the U.S. Overall, this sector of the labor pool will grow by roughly 14 percent in the decade that started in 2018. Such figures are exceptional and point to many thousands of new job openings in the years to come.

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