While most people think the plumbing industry consists of individuals who unclog drains,in reality they work in a variety of fields performing a range of tasks.
They may work in new construction installing the piping necessary for the home or office to have water or they may work in an industrial environment working with liquids moving through pipes. Others work with air conditioning, waste products and steam.
Candidates for the plumbing industry should be in good physical condition and able to stand for long periods of time as well as perform a wide range of physical actions such as:
- Climbing ladders
- Working in cramped positions
- Lifting heavy objects
Workers in the plumbing field may be required to work in inclement weather. Depending on the industry in which they are employed, they may be required to be on call, work evenings, weekends and/or holidays. They may work 40 hours per week or more.
Employment Prospects for Plumbers
Although new construction related employment prospects is not anticipated to grow more than average during the next few years, other areas are expected to provide employment prospects in plumbing.
These prospects include general building renovations in addition repair and maintenance of:
- Residential homes
- Business and public facilities
- Power plants
- Waste and wastewater treatment facilities
While a large number of plumbers are employed by firms that engage in new construction and repair, other possibilities include employment with industrial, commercial and government employers. The petroleum and chemical industries tend to be a large employers due to the need for moving liquids through pipes. Approximately 25% of all employers are self-employed.
Job Search for Plumbers
Networking, particularly within union circles, is one of the best ways to find out about job openings within this field. In many cases, open positions are not listed through traditional means such as the classifieds; instead they are filled from within union ranks.
Resumes for Plumbers
Due to the wide range of tasks that must be performed to a high degree of exactness within this occupation, the best resume format to use when applying for employment is either a functional or combination resume. Both of these resume formats give the candidate the ability to focus on specific skills.
Cover Letters for Plumbers
Work experience and good references play a large role in hiring plumbing workers. A cover letter should focus on the amount and type of experience a candidate possesses as well as any beneficial references they may have. If the candidate has been referred by a noteworthy person for the job opening, this should be mentioned in the cover letter.
Training & Qualifications for Plumbers
While there are no specific requirements for the education and training of plumbers, almost all complete some form of a training or apprenticeship program. Local union-management organizations offer a large majority of the training programs across the nation. These associations and organizations include:
- United Association of Journeymen
- Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Inc
- The National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors
- National Fire Sprinkler Association, Inc
Both union and non-union related apprenticeships are possible and normally consist of about four or five years of on the job training. Under most circumstances, apprenticeship candidates must be at least 18 years of age and also must be in good physical condition.
Various training programs may require a high school diploma or GED. Licensing requirements tend to vary from one area to the next; however, candidates are usually required to pass an examination in order to be come licensed to work.