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How to Become a Plumber Without an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “How to become a plumber without an apprenticeship?

Becoming a plumber is a career path that offers stability, good earning potential, and growth opportunities. However, many aspiring individuals wonder if pursuing this profession is possible without going through a formal apprenticeship program. 

This article will explore whether you can become a plumber without an apprenticeship and suggest alternative routes to enter this trade.

How to Become a Plumber Without an Apprenticeship

What is an Apprenticeship? 

An apprenticeship is a structured training program combining on-the-job experience and classroom instruction. It provides aspiring plumbers with hands-on training, mentorship, and the necessary theoretical knowledge. Typically, an apprenticeship lasts four to five years, during which apprentices work alongside experienced plumbers while attending related courses.

Benefits of an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships offer several advantages for individuals interested in pursuing a career in plumbing:

  1. Practical Skills: Apprentices gain practical experience by working under the guidance of experienced professionals. They learn how to handle tools, troubleshoot plumbing systems, and carry out repairs and installations.
  2. Networking: Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to build a professional network within the plumbing industry. Working closely with experienced plumbers allows apprentices to establish valuable connections that lead to future job opportunities.
  3. Industry Knowledge: Through classroom instruction, apprentices gain a solid understanding of plumbing codes, regulations, and safety practices. This knowledge is essential for ensuring plumbing work meets industry standards.
  4. Certification: Completing an apprenticeship often leads to obtaining a plumber’s certification.

Alternative Paths to Becoming a Plumber

While an apprenticeship is a traditional and recommended path for becoming a plumber, there are alternative routes to consider:

  1. Trade Schools or Vocational Programs: Many trade schools and vocational institutes offer plumbing programs that provide comprehensive training. These programs focus on teaching the necessary plumbing skills and knowledge within a shorter timeframe than apprenticeships.
  2. On-the-Job Training: Although uncommon, some plumbing companies may offer on-the-job training opportunities for individuals strongly interested in the trade. This approach requires finding a company willing to invest in your training and development.
  3. Self-Study and Certification Exams: This approach requires rigorous self-study, often involving textbooks, online resources, and practice exams to prepare for certification.


While an apprenticeship is the preferred path for becoming a plumber due to the comprehensive training and practical experience it offers, it is not the only way to enter the profession. Alternative routes such as trade schools, on-the-job training, and self-study exist for those who cannot pursue a formal apprenticeship.

Updated on August 8, 2023

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