How to Become a Plumber in Michigan

Becoming a plumber in Michigan can be a good decision considering the opportunities for growth along with the more or less constant demand. There are several steps that you need to follow in order to become a plumber in Michigan.

Let’s take a look at what these steps entail and how you can go about following them.

Requirements for Becoming a Plumber in Michigan

There are several requirements for becoming a plumber in Michigan. You will first need to obtain the required learning and experience in the field of plumbing, after which you will also need to obtain an official plumbing license by following the relevant rules of application.

You will need to start off with an apprenticeship, following which you can opt for becoming a journeyman, a master plumber or a plumbing contractor. Each of these has different requirements and levels that you will need to meet.

You can go through the individual descriptions and essentials of each of them below.

Apprenticeship

Becoming an apprentice is the first step involved in becoming a plumber in Michigan. This will generally require you to work under a professional plumber on their jobs while simultaneously taking training courses on plumbing methods and tools.

You will also need to apply for training programs or courses and get accepted to those so that you can start your apprenticeship. There are several minimum requirements to become an apprentice such as being at least 18 years old, having a high school certificate and having good knowledge of certain subjects.

This apprenticeship will usually go on for up to five years, after which you can move on to becoming a journeyman.

Journeyman

A journeyman is a plumber who has completed their apprenticeship thoroughly. At the end of the apprenticeship, you will also need to obtain a license and give an exam for the same.

Once you manage to receive this license, you can start working as a plumber and attending jobs that require your help and meet your skillset. You no longer need a master plumber to accompany you at this point.

Usually, journeymen tend to work for companies or on their own as they cannot yet form a company of their own. You usually start off with smaller jobs here, such as installing fixtures while slowly gaining experience and moving onto larger jobs.

Master Plumber

A master plumber is one that has successfully gone through the previous two stages. You also need to have sufficient experience as a journeyman to move into this job role.

It also requires you to undergo a bit more learning as you will need to apply for another license at this point by giving an exam. Once you obtain this kind of license, you can start supervising people starting out in this field while also making plans and designs.

You can start performing inspections and working with other associated professionals as well.

Plumbing Contractor

A plumbing contractor is someone who has a master plumbing license or has someone with this kind of license. As a plumbing contractor, they can start their own company and provide sufficient proof of their employment history.

This can then allow them to appear for an exam that they need to pass to become an official contractor and to obtain a license for the same. Following this, they can start accepting jobs on a contractual basis for their employees.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plumbing License in Michigan

The requirements for obtaining a plumbing license in Michigan can differ according to the level that you are applying for. Generally, however, there are a few common requirements that you can read through below.

  • You will need to be at least 18 years old.
  • You will need a high school diploma.
  • You will need to fill out the application form for your exam.
  • You will need to pay the application fee of $100.
  • You will need to have 6,000 or 4,000 hours of work experience, depending on the level that you are applying for.
  • You will need to pass a criminal background check.
  • Make sure you pass the exams to get the license.
  • Pay the fees for the license ($40 for a journeyman and $300 for a master plumber).

You can read through this guide for other relevant information.

How Much Time and Money Does It Take to Become a Plumber in Michigan?

It will take you several years to become a plumber in Michigan. The apprenticeship itself will take up to five years to complete until you can obtain a license to start out as a journeyman.

It will then take you a few more years to be able to apply for a license as a master plumber since you need to accumulate 4,000 hours of work experience.

Throughout these stages, you will also need to pay fees for applying for courses, studying, giving an exam as well as applying for a license. While this might cost you a bit of money, you will also immediately be able to start earning from the level of an apprentice.

Programs

There are several programs or courses that you can look into while applying for an apprenticeship. For instance, you can look into trade schools and training institutes across the state that offer courses in plumbing or pipefitting.

You can also look into community colleges near you that can give you this kind of opportunity.

To start applying for a job as an apprentice, you can do this through several unions or organizations that can help you look. Online platforms like apprenticeship.gov can also make this process easier.

Some of the programs are available in places like:

  • Macomb Community College
  • Delta College
  • Kellogg Community College
  • Henry Ford College
  • Northwestern Michigan College

Potential Job Opportunities

There are several job opportunities in plumbing since a plumber’s services are usually always in demand. These might require you to work independently, as part of a company or by starting your own company, depending on the skill level that you are on.

Plumbing jobs can range from installing fixtures, fittings, making repairs, making connections between pipes, maintaining and cleaning drains and pipes, installing pipes or even constructing entire pipelines or plumbing systems in houses or buildings.

At more advanced levels, you can also expect jobs that require you to create layouts or plumbing plans. Collaborations with government officials and other associated professions might also take place.

According to official state data, installation, maintenance and repair occupations constitute a major sector and employ 153,990 people as of May 2020. The rate is also projected to grow in the construction industry by 6.1% over the next few years.

Approximate Salary

On average, you can expect to make $16.72 per hour and approximately $39,000 per year as an apprentice and up to $30 per hour as a journeyman plumber. The average annual salary is usually $51,640.

There are, of course, differences in how much different plumbers get paid. As a master plumber, you may also be able to earn around $100,000 per year. As an apprentice, you might have to start off with around $15,000-$20,000 per year.

The more you advance in your career, the more experience you will gain. This will also lead to a steady increase in your salary.

Additional factors can also contribute to how much you earn. For example, you might earn more if you have more educational skills, more experience, better recommendations and so on.

Career Growth

As an apprentice, you will only be able to accompany and assist other professional plumbers in their job. You will then be able to start carrying out jobs on your own once you become a journeyman, starting from smaller tasks like installing fixtures to bigger ones, like installing pipelines.

As you advance in your career, you will also be able to manage other people and carry out more diverse roles. This will increase your earning potential significantly as well.

As you carry out different kinds of tasks, you will also build new skills and experiences that you can then keep applying to newer and bigger jobs.

Organizations to Know

You can keep these organizations in mind in case you have any queries or issues.

  • Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
  • Bureau of Construction Codes
  • Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Contractor’s Association
  • Michigan Pipe Trades Association
  • Plumbers 98 and MCA Detroit Training Association

Concluding Remarks

This brings you to the end of this comprehensive guide. Through it, you have been able to find out all that you need to know about how to become a plumber in Michigan. This involves becoming an apprentice and then moving on to becoming a journeyman, master plumber or plumbing contractor.

Each of these positions requires you to undergo some training, give examinations, pass them and obtain a relevant license that can allow you to practice your profession.

This guide has also gone into all the relevant details about finding jobs, what you can expect, how much you can get paid and how you can keep growing in this field. We wish you the best with your plumbing endeavors!

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