Plumbing is a fast-growing industry and offers many perks and advantages. For one, there is always going to be the need for quality plumbers in both residential and commercial areas. Secondly, the profession offers several perks and good pay as one moves up the ladder. In case you are intrigued by plumbing and want to become a plumber in Louisiana, we have you covered!
If you have decided that you want to build a career in plumbing, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the basic requirements of the job and slowly start working towards it.
Here is what you need to become a plumber in Louisiana:
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Hold a valid driving license.
- Do not have any criminal cases registered against you.
- Be in possession of a valid high school diploma.
You will also have to enroll for an interview with the Plumbing Apprenticeship Committee and also undergo a physical examination that will test your physical abilities to undertake the job.
You will need to pass the exam and undergo an apprenticeship. Here is the chronology that is needed to become a plumber in Louisiana.
This is a test that will check your aptitude to become a plumber. It checks your basic English and Mathematics capabilities and is relatively easy to crack. The test would have basic questions related to geometry, mensuration and arithmetic, comprehension and reading. It lasts 1 hour 20 minutes and would give you a good ground to build your skills and knowledge upon.
This is the most crucial part of the training to become a plumber. It would not only impart you the required skill sets but also expose you to the length and breadth of plumbing, grow your network and firmly establish you in your career.
The process for applying to an apprenticeship is simple. Once you have cleared the aptitude test and achieved the required marks, you can apply for apprenticeship programs. Usually, the programs last for 4-5 years and you progress from being a journeyman to a master plumber.
It is here that you learn the plumbing basics of the trade such as fixing, installing and maintaining pipes and plumbing fixtures, checking water supplies and more. Apprenticeship programs usually require you to complete certain hours of technical training alongside classroom knowledge of key theories and concepts.
You also get paid during the program depending on your skillset. In most cases, this is a set hourly rate.
Once you are through your apprenticeship, you can take the final exam to become a journeyman. The State Plumbing Board of Louisiana manages the exam and your plumbing license thereafter.
There are two types of licenses offered by the state of Louisiana to those who have completed their apprenticeship successfully.
To qualify for this license, the candidate needs to have completed at least five years or 8,000 hours of work under a master plumber in addition to being a registered apprentice.
Although the state of Louisiana does not offer you a license if you have a license from another state, in case you have a plumbing license in some other state, it can be used to take the examination for being a journeyman.
Those who have a valid Journeyman plumbing license in Louisiana can apply for a Master Plumber License. The benefit of having this license is that the person can apply to own his business and take individual bids on projects costing less than $10,000. This is an upgrade from the journeyman license.
In addition to these two licenses, there is another license called the Plumbing Contractor License that can be held by people who want to undertake larger commercial projects with a bigger budget i.e. $50,000 or more.
Therefore, in case you want to expand your work as a plumber and take bigger contracts costing above $10,000 in labor and material costs, you need to hold both a Master Plumber License and a commercial license.
There are a number of good schools that offer programs in plumbing in Louisiana. These include:
- Central Louisiana Technical Community College
- South Louisiana Community College
- Delgado Community College
- Nunez Community College
- Capital Area Technical College
The courses offered at these schools include the basics of plumbing. You will be taught how to repair and install various plumbing fixtures and pipes at homes and in commercial projects alongside giving information about the theoretical concepts that define practical implications.
The courses also cover the Plumbing Codes and regulations that plumbers in Louisiana need to be aware of in order to take plumbing work in the state. Those who can’t pay the full tuition may also apply for grants and sponsorship in the colleges. Aid is available in various forms that can be explored by eligible students.
Plumbing unions, Local 198 and 60 are good places to start looking for apprenticeships. If you already have contacts with good plumbers and contractors, you can also approach them for an apprenticeship. Having said that, you should also explore the apprenticeship opportunities and support for employment offered by the college you are enrolled in.
Becoming a plumber in Louisiana can be a rewarding career if you take it up seriously and commit to upgrading your skill sets and expanding your network. You should not only aim to improve your skills but also take on projects that challenge and fulfill you.
Sometimes, people also choose the area that they want to work in and go on to specialize accordingly. For instance, some relegate themselves to residential projects while others also take on commercial projects in addition to doing residences.
Here are the skills that you need to have in order to work as a plumber in Louisiana:
- Adept at installing and fixing pipes and plumbing fixtures.
- Knowledgeable in understanding and fixing issues with the water supply and central heating.
- Skilled at repairing common household appliances.
- Adept at installing faucets, pipes and plumbing equipment.
- Skilled and experienced in installing and maintaining liquid and gas heating systems.
These are not exhaustive and the scope of work varies from project to project. However, in today’s competitive times, it is not just enough to have the above skill sets and experiences and a plumber should also have soft skills to excel in the trade.
These include good communication skills, good listening skills, a problem-solving outlook, analytical skills and the ability to stay calm in complex, crisis situations.
Once you have made the decision to become a plumber in Louisiana, it is natural to think about the financial rewards it offers. But being a plumber can be a rewarding career and one can make sure to make good money.
While the average salary for a is considered to be around $21/hour in Louisiana, people can make much more depending on their skill sets and years of experience in the trade.
Once you are more established and have a good network, you can even go solo and work as a freelancer. They make significantly more money and are more at ease to choose what work they want to do and when. The compensation for unsociable hours and overtime also adds up to the earning potential.
There are certain jobs that can be done sans a license in Louisiana. These include basic repairs and fixtures and that too if you are employed by a registered license holder.
However, if you are envisaging a long-term career in plumbing, it is better to get a license because it offers many benefits.
- It opens the ambit of work you can undertake. Besides, it is a legal requirement to hold a license in Louisiana if you want to work as a plumber in the state.
- Only licensed plumbers can bid for bigger projects, advertise and apply for government grants and projects. In fact, certain commercial tenders are also off-limit for plumbers who don’t hold a valid license.
- It gives you a competitive edge and significantly improves your earning potential.
- If you hold a valid license, you will be trusted more by customers and clients.
The licenses cost between $100 and $200 depending on the type of license you are applying for. You will also need to renew your license periodically as per the mandates of the state.
The choice of becoming a plumber in Louisiana can be a rewarding one. It is a long journey, but with the right approach and attitude, it can put you on the path to a fulfilling journey. The right apprenticeship and soft skills will make you a better plumber and also increase your earning potential.
The only thing that you need to do is to choose the career carefully and having made the choice, be prepared to face any impediments in the way.