How to Become a Plumber in Wyoming
Anyone who builds or owns a home is well aware of the importance of plumbing systems such as water supply and drainage systems. The same holds true for anyone who builds, owns or manages a commercial property. During construction, plumbers provide the vital knowhow required to properly install sewer, water and gas lines. And once construction is complete, plumbers often return to homes and businesses to conduct maintenance and repairs.
Although sparsely populated, Wyoming relies on plumbing services just as much as other parts of the U.S. This means that plumbers are needed in communities of every size. If you want to do plumbing work in Wyoming, it helps to understand the plumbing industry before you make any firm plans. Keep reading to learn how you can launch your career while avoiding any potential setbacks.
What Are Wyoming’s Licensing Guidelines for Plumbers?
Wyoming is one of a handful of states that doesn’t control the plumbing trade at a state level. Instead, control of the trade happens at a more local county or community level. What does this mean for you as a would-be plumber? In some parts of Wyoming, you can join the trade without getting any kind of license to do so. However, in other parts of the state, you must seek a license from a county or municipal authority.
Two Wyoming cities that maintain local control over the plumbing trade are Cheyenne and Jackson. Cheyenne’s guidelines identify two classes of plumbers: journeymen and masters. Journeymen have significant plumbing experience but need to learn more in order to master their trade. Master plumbers have attained a very high level of knowledge and experience.
The city issues two kinds of plumber licenses: qualified supervisor licenses and contractor licenses. Qualified supervisors can direct work crews on plumbing jobs. Contractors can operate businesses capable of handling even large-scale commercial projects. Check the city’s website for a complete breakdown of the rules governing plumbers.
In Jackson, you need a city-issued license to act as a plumbing contractor. The city defines contractors as plumbers who install, alter or relocate any kind of plumbing system. That includes systems used to move steam, gas, oil or chemicals.
If you live in another Wyoming community, ask your local government about that community’s rules for working plumbers.
Plumbing Schools in Wyoming
In some parts of Wyoming, you can seek work as a plumber even if you have no previous experience. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In every community, plumbers are respected because they do their jobs well. This means that you’ll need to develop your skills as early as possible. Some people get on-the-job training while working as plumber’s apprentices. However, others seek out a plumbing training program. Wyoming trade schools offering plumbing programs include:
- Northwest College Wyoming – This Powell-based school offers a four-year plumbing apprenticeship. All program participants receive real-world training as well as classroom and online instruction.
- Laramie County Community College – This institution offers a Plumbing Technology degree. Graduates are ready to start a hands-on plumbing apprenticeship.
- Western Wyoming Community College – Western Wyoming offers an online Foundations of Plumbing course. The course provides a total of 145 hours of plumbing instruction.
Plumbing Apprenticeship Programs in Wyoming
Every year, new employees enter the plumbing field in states across America. In some states, plumbers are strictly regulated. This regulation often includes rules governing the work of plumbing apprentices. However, Wyoming does not follow either of these models. There is no statewide regulation of plumbers or plumbing apprentices.
In fact, there are no set guidelines for such apprentices anywhere in Wyoming. A few cities, including Cheyenne, do have regulations for journeyman plumbers and master plumbers. But the city’s guidelines don’t state exactly how long you must apprentice before obtaining journeyman status.
Despite the lack of guiding regulations, there are Wyoming businesses that hire plumbing apprentices. In addition, there are Wyoming institutions that provide plumber training. Some of these training programs are designed to prepare you for an apprentice position.
For example, at Western Wyoming Community College in Afton, you can take a 145-hour course in the foundations of plumbing. All classwork is conducted online. Another preparatory option is Laramie County Community College. This school’s curriculum includes coursework in plumbing technology.
There are also institutions offering more in-depth training for would-be plumbers. One example is Northwest College Wyoming in Powell. This school has a well-rounded, four-year apprenticeship program that includes both theoretical instruction and hands-on training.
Income Expectations for Plumbers in Wyoming
On average, Wyoming plumbers make about $48,000 a year. While substantial, this level of income falls roughly $10,000 below the national average for a plumber’s salary. However, like a lot of other states without a statewide licensing process, Wyoming has a fairly high level of starting pay for new plumbers. In addition, the state’s top plumbers make $76,000 a year or more.
The U.S. Job Market for Plumbers
If future employment opportunities are important to you, the plumbing trade might offer just what you need. Plumbers belong to a high-demand category of trade professionals. Currently, this category is in the middle of a decade-long growth cycle. That’s a good sign for plumbing newbies who enter the trade anytime soon.