A Career in Plumbing in Tennessee
If you’ve been considering a career as a plumber, you might be wondering what kind of future you can expect from the trade. Plumbing is essential to the continuation of modern society. If not for plumbing systems, water delivery, waste removal and heating and cooling would be far more difficult. Furthermore, beyond the mundane day-to-day uses for piping, it is also crucial for medical and industrial purposes, making lifesaving treatments and manufacturing possible. With all of these vital systems relying on plumbing to keep things running smoothly, plumbers can expect a secure future, installing, maintaining and repairing them.
As a plumber, you will need to acquire a great deal of knowledge about the systems you will be responsible for, including which materials and methods are safest for various purposes and how to maintain compliance with building codes. Plumbers will also need a great deal of physical stamina, as the job requires carrying heavy equipment, working with tools and working in tight spaces. A good eye for detail will be needed for inspecting pipes and deciding which parts require repair or replacement.
For those interested in business ownership, it will be necessary to understand basic business practices such as accounting and marketing. Business owners will also need to accurately approximate the cost of materials and labor to prepare written estimates for clients or contracting bids for large projects. Excellent communication skills are a must, as you will often need to coordinate services with other contractors around a specific client’s needs.
Tennessee Licensing for Plumbers
In Tennessee, plumbers are required to have a license to practice. Licenses are granted by the Tennessee Department of Commercial and Insurance in two forms, a Limited License and a Contractor License. Limited Licenses are for those whose per-project value is less than $25,000, while Contractor Licenses are for anyone providing work valued at over $25,000.
Tennessee Training for Plumbers
Prior to training as a plumber, a high school diploma or equivalent will be necessary. Once completed, plumbers generally train through an apprenticeship or certified training program. A few of the choices for training in Tennessee include:
- Moore Tech College of Technology in Memphis offers a Plumbing Certificate Program. The program promises to prepare students for a career in the industry through lectures and hands-on lab work.
- Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Morristown offers a certificate program in Pipefitting and Plumbing Technology. Students will learn the basics of the plumbing trade including safety, building codes, basic math, plumbing materials and industry standards.
- Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Knoxville also offers a certificate program in Pipefitting and Plumbing Technology. The program promises to teach students the basics of the pipefitting trade including fabrication, installation, blueprint reading and measurements.
Earning and Job Growth Potential in the State
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported average annual earnings of $52,050 in 2019 for plumbers in Tennessee. Although somewhat below the national average of $59,800, salary data must be considered in light of the local cost of living, which can vary significantly from state to state.
The state’s job growth potential for plumbers is positive, with a predicted 15.1 percent growth between 2018 and 2028, translating to an average of 990 job openings annually.
Opportunities in Tennessee
With organizations like the University of Texas, Aerotek, Interstate Mechanical Contractors and Roane County Schools recruiting, Tennessee has promising opportunities for plumbers. However, many plumbers prefer to work more independently or run a business of their own. Whichever career track you choose, obtaining qualifications as a plumber is a great way to meet your goals.