Plumbing is a very lucrative trade. For those willing to learn the skill and put in the necessary time, career opportunities abound.
People often want to know how much it will cost them to become a plumber, but there is no simple answer. The costs all depend on how quickly one wants to complete their education and whether or not they attend a vocational school or four-year university to get their degree in plumbing. The costs also depend on whether an individual decides to live at home while attending classes and how many classes they take each semester (some schools offer only night classes). The more classes taken, the faster one can complete an education, but there is a higher cost associated with taking more classes.
Many vocational schools offer a two-year degree in plumbing that can be completed at a cost of approximately $17,000 – not including books and general living expenses. Students who take more than the required number of courses per semester can complete this degree in less time and spend less overall. It all depends on an individual’s financial situation.
A four-year bachelor’s degree in plumbing from a university will cost an average of $95,000 (not including room and board). Most universities require 30 credits to graduate, but this can vary. Thirty credits is equal to about 10 classes per year, but some schools offer courses only during the night or only during the summer which might require students to take an additional class or two during the year.
It is also important to consider all of the hidden costs associated with becoming a plumber. When one begins an apprenticeship, they are not making any money. They will need enough savings on hand to cover food and housing until they begin receiving their first paycheck. Therefore, it might be necessary to hold down a second job for a while.
Online Plumbing School
There are a number of online plumbing schools that offer certifications at lower costs, but some ask that students attend required on-campus seminars or workshops. However, these seminars often cost less than a semester of college and may only require a few days away from home. The average cost of an online plumbing school is $6,000. This includes room and board during any required on-campus seminars or workshops.
Plumbing Tool Costs
Another cost to consider is the tools you’ll be using as a plumber. Plumbing tools can cost anywhere from $300 to $5,000. The price of the tool depends on the material it is made out of and how complex its design is. For example, a pair of channel lock pliers will only cost about $6 at Walmart, but a full set of titanium ratcheting wrenches might cost close to $300.
Are there Plumbing Scholarships?
Plumbing scholarships are rare but do exist. Perhaps the best place to start looking for scholarship opportunities is through the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, which lists several plumbing/pipefitting apprenticeship sponsors that offer $2,000 -$4,000 in scholarships for students enrolled in their program.