The 4th most populous state in the US, New York has an estimated population of around 20.4 million. With 62 cities and 13 metropolitan areas, New York is an excellent place to pursue a career as a plumber.
The demand for plumbers in the state is very high and as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are around 29,630 people working in the plumbing industry in the state. In this article, we’ll discuss how to become a plumber in New York, how to get a license, and the career prospects of a plumber in the state.
If you want to pursue a career as a plumber in New York, you require a license. You must first register with the New York Secretary of State to be a plumber in New York. The licensing for plumbers; however, is regulated locally in New York. The first step to becoming a licensed plumber is to get your journeyman plumber’s license.
However, before this, you must have two years of experience at least as an apprentice working under a licensed master plumber, where you will work along with the master plumber on various plumbing jobs such as plumbing repairs, pipe installations, fixture installations, etc.
If you want to become an apprentice plumber in New York, you should enroll in a university or a training school. In a trade school, the program is usually for around 4-5 years, which includes both theory, as well as hands-on practice. You will learn various topics such as maths, science, drafting, reading blueprints, pipe fitting, sprinkler installation, etc. in the program.
You can either join an in-person program or choose to do it online. You must also register for the apprenticeship for it to be valid. The eligibility for a plumber apprenticeship program, you need to:
- Have a GED or high school diploma
- Be 18 years old at least
- Have a driver’s license
- Have a copy of your birth certification
- Be a citizen of the US
- Pass a drug test
- Understand English
- Be a good driver
- Have a good moral standing
- Pay a processing fee
As an apprentice, you will work under the supervision of a master plumber and will be paid for your work. However, you need to register your apprenticeship, as well as renew it every year. You can get a plumbing apprenticeship by applying for an apprenticeship program or via a job website.
To become a journeyman plumber, you need the following requirements:
- You should be 18 years old at least
- Have a GED or high school diploma
- Be able to speak, read and write English fluently
- Have your own tools for the job
- Be fit to do the work of a plumber
- Have a good moral character
- Have a minimum of two years of experience working as an apprentice plumber
To become a journeyman plumber, you need the know-how of the plumbing trade, such as knowledge of technical requirements, tools, drafting simple diagrams and working with the code.
For a journeyman plumber’s license, you need to submit your applications and certain required documents via the DOB (Department of Buildings) licensing platform. However, for a journeyman plumber’s license, there is no need to take any exam.
You must also provide:
- Your work history to the local plumber licensing board
- Affidavit from your master plumber/sponsor
- Pay the journeyman application fee ($50 to $100) depending on the licensing board
When you become a master plumber, you can work on a variety of plumbing jobs and there is no need for you to work under another plumber. You must continue working under the master plumber as a journeyman plumber.
To get a master plumber’s license in New York, you must pay a licensing fee of $200 and meet one of the experience criteria listed below:
- Have 7 years of experience working under a master plumber, of which you should have worked as a licensed journeyman plumber for 2 years at least.
- Have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant engineering technology from a university or college that is registered by the New York State Department of Education along with 5 years of experience within the last 7 years, with 2 years of plumbing experience in New York.
- You must be a professional (an architect or engineer) with a New York State license with an experience of at least 3 years within the last 5 years, with 1 year of experience in New York.
- You must have 7 years of experience, at least within 10 years before your application, with a minimum of 2 years of experience working under a master plumber. Of this experience, at least 2 years must be obtained as a licensed journeyman plumber.
- Be an employee of a private inspection, government agency or any other body that is accepted by the Buildings Commissioner and completed duties involving plumbing work for compliance with the Plumbing Code of New York City. You should have a total work experience of 7 years within 10 years of making the application.
Once the registration has been completed and you have cleared the exam and the background check, then you can get your master plumber’s license. As an applicant, you must be part of a business either as a partner or an officer or a sole proprietorship and you must comply with all the zoning codes stipulated by New York City.
To get your master plumber license in New York, you need to pass the written, as well as the practical exam. However, before you take the exam, you will need to fill out the application for both the written and practical exams and submit them, along with a fee of $525 and $350, respectively.
Once you have submitted the applications and paid the fees, you will receive directions from the exam administrator regarding the exam schedule via email. To take the practical exam, you will require a minimum score of 70% in the written exam and once you pass the practical exam, you will receive a letter after 3-4 weeks and then you’re all set to start working as a master plumber.
The job of a plumber essentially involves installing, repairing and maintaining the water and piping systems in residences, factories, businesses, etc., installing plumbing fixtures like toilets, bathtubs, appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, etc., cleaning drains, removing obstructions, repairing or replacing broken fixtures and pipes and maintaining sewage systems.
Not only do plumbers install and develop the plumbing and piping systems in new buildings, but they also help in assessing and fixing issues in older, existing systems. Plumbers need to have expertise in water systems and must be able to identify any problems while being involved in their repair and upkeep.
They should be able to read blueprints and follow the specifications exactly when installing new systems. They must also know the building codes and regulations of the state and county and work accordingly.
According to the BLS, it is expected that jobs for plumbers, steamfitters and pipefitters will grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029. Over the decade, it is estimated that there will be around 49,800 job openings for plumbers, steamfitters and pipefitters and these opportunities will essentially be from new constructions and repair and maintenance of plumbing systems in existing buildings and residences.
The median yearly wages for plumbers in top industries include manufacturing, government, heavy and civil engineering construction and heating, air conditioning and plumbing contractors.
While the average salary of plumbers is $61,677 in New York, the rate per hour for apprentice plumbers is around $16 per hour, a journeyman plumber is around $26.19 per hour and a master plumber is around $43.68 per hour.
The average salaries in the major cities are as below:
- Buffalo: $54,970
- Utica: $55,044
- Syracuse: $56,656
- Rochester: $56,664
- Albany: $58,418
- New Rochelle: $65,848
- Brookhaven: $62,763
- Hempstead: $63,107
- Mount Vernon: $66,228
- Yonkers: $66,257
- Huntington: $65,755
- Oyster Bay: $65,755
- New York: $69,552
If you plan to pursue a career as a plumber and are considering joining a plumber school, here are some of the top plumbing schools in New York.
Located in Long Island City, the Apex Technical School offers a very modern future-oriented plumber program that enables you to prepare for an excellent apprenticeship that will help you apply to great plumbing jobs.
Pennco Tech’s plumbing program takes a few months to complete and offers the best plumbing job opportunities. The college offers different levels of education that will enable you to find a suitable job when you graduate.
Perfect to start your career in plumbing, the Berk Trade and Business School offers different levels of study, right from certificate to degree. The courses will teach you how to design, create, repair and maintain any type of plumbing system.
The Ocean County Vocational school offers a great plumbing program that covers all aspects of design, creation, construction and maintenance of any type of plumbing or piping system.
With colleges in various locations such as Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, the Co-op Tech needs to be enrolled in a High School of the Department of Education.
- New York Department of Labor
- UA Local 1 Plumbers Training Center
- New York State Job Bank
- Eastern Millwright Regional Council Apprenticeship
- Finishing Trades Institute of New York
- Boilermakers Northeastern JAC
- New York State Education Department
- NYC Department of Buildings
- Occupational Licensing Management System
The average yearly wage for plumbers in May 2020 was around $56,330. The entry-level plumbers earned around $33,460 or less, while the highest 10% of the plumbers earned over $98,990.