How to Become a Residential Plumber

Residential Plumber Granada Hills work on indoor plumbing systems that include drains, water supply, toilets, and sewage. They can also assemble, install, and repair water heaters.


Finding leaks in homes can be tricky. For example, a small leak in the kitchen sink might not be noticed until it causes severe damage.

Plumbing is one of the most physically demanding career paths. Those who choose to become plumbers need to develop a range of technical skills, including an in-depth understanding of how different types of pipes and systems work together. This includes an ability to identify and repair basic plumbing issues like leaky faucets, toilets that don’t flush properly or water heater malfunctions. It also involves knowing how to work with a variety of tools, from basic hand tools like wrenches and pliers to more specialized equipment like pipe threaders and drain snakes.

Plumbing technicians need to be able to read and interpret blueprints and architectural drawings. This is a necessary skill to have for both new construction projects and when addressing existing plumbing issues. These types of diagrams often provide valuable information about the location of pipes and how they connect to other fixtures and appliances, such as sinks, bathtubs and showers. Blueprints may also contain important safety information, so it’s crucial for plumbers to know how to interpret them correctly.

Plumbers also need to understand the specific challenges of their particular region. For example, in areas that experience a lot of rainfall, plumbers need to have a strong grasp of how to install and maintain proper gutter and drainage systems. They also need to be familiar with preventing frozen pipes in colder climates by understanding how to insulate and protect plumbing components.

In addition to these technical skills, plumbers need excellent customer service abilities. This is because they frequently interact with clients, whether they’re homeowners or business owners. Providing high-quality customer service helps build trust and ultimately leads to repeat customers and referrals.

Lastly, plumbers should have good organizational skills to keep track of appointments and ensure they’re meeting their commitments. This is especially important when it comes to emergency situations, when a client’s problem can escalate quickly. Plumbers need to be able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action in a short amount of time. They also need to be able to work independently without direct supervision.


A high school diploma is the minimum education required to be a residential plumber, but a college degree is preferred. Some colleges offer programs in plumbing technology, water systems, pipe fittings and construction technologies that can help prepare you for the apprenticeship or work as a journeyman plumber. Many community colleges also offer continuing education courses for current plumbing professionals to improve their skills.

Many people choose to enter the profession through an apprenticeship. These programs can last several years and provide you with on-the-job training and experience, as well as a paycheck. Some employers will even pay for your tuition. You can find these programs through local United Association unions and community colleges.

Once you’ve completed your formal education and apprenticeship, you can become a journeyman plumber after passing an exam. This qualifies you to perform plumbing jobs under the supervision of a master plumber, and it allows you to apply for a license to work as an independent contractor or start your own plumbing company. The licensing process can vary by city and county, so check with the municipality where you intend to work for details.

Besides being licensed, a residential plumber should be physically fit and ready to work in difficult conditions. Depending on the nature of the job, you may need to climb into tight spaces, work around dangerous chemicals and operate machinery. In addition, the work schedule can be unpredictable since plumbing emergencies don’t always occur during normal business hours. You should also be comfortable working with a variety of tools and techniques, including hand and power tools, PVC pipes, valves, drain traps and other components. Professional certifications such as National Inspection Testing and Certification and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials are optional but can make you more valuable to potential employers or clients. You should also stay current on new plumbing technologies and regulations.


The majority of states require plumbers to obtain a state license before working on plumbing jobs. But the specific requirements vary from state to state. It’s also important to check the local or city licensing requirements for each place you intend to work as a plumber. These requirements can sometimes differ even between municipalities within the same state.

During the apprenticeship, you’ll learn from an experienced journeyman plumber while getting paid to work on a job site. The length of the apprenticeship varies by jurisdiction. But you’ll need to complete the apprenticeship program to be able to get your license.

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you can start submitting applications to the state for a license. The application requires personal information, including your social security number, and a list of previous plumbing jobs you’ve worked on. You must provide the dates, a description of your duties and a notarized affidavit from master plumbers who can verify your work experience.

Many plumbing professionals work as independent contractors. But if you want to work for a corporation or government agency, you’ll likely need to pass a background check and have current references. These references can include past customers and character witnesses.

Commercial plumbers are often hired to handle large-scale plumbing projects, like installing pipes for a hospital or building a water system for a school. In some cases, these plumbers will be required to go through a formal bidding process to be selected for a project.

While most commercial plumbing projects are bigger than those performed by residential plumbers, they can still be fairly straightforward for qualified plumbers. These larger jobs tend to be more complex, though. For example, a commercial plumber might be required to connect plumbing for an entire building’s worth of tenants or workers, and the resulting plumbing systems may have multiple layers of pipes.


Residential plumbers work with plumbing fixtures like sinks, toilets, showers, and bathtubs. They also install and repair water supply lines and sewage systems in homes and apartments. They may also work on large-scale water heaters for commercial buildings. This job requires strong troubleshooting skills to identify and correct plumbing problems. They also need to have good customer service skills to communicate with homeowners and other professionals about the work they are performing.

Most plumbers begin their careers with a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a paid apprenticeship program, which mixes classroom learning with on-the-job training. After finishing the apprenticeship, plumbers must pass an exam to earn their master plumber license. Many states also require plumbers to pass a background check and drug test before they can be licensed.

In addition to the technical requirements for the job, residential plumbers must have strong communication and organizational skills. They often need to collaborate with other professionals, including construction teams and engineers, to ensure that plumbing systems are properly integrated into building projects. They also need to work well under pressure and in tight spaces. Plumbers who are independent contractors typically have more flexibility in their scheduling and choice of projects.

Some plumbers specialize in certain types of plumbing, such as drain cleaning, sewer repairs, or water heaters. Others focus on particular building types or industries. Commercial plumbers, for example, may work on plumbing in office buildings, retail stores, restaurants, hospitals, and other large industrial facilities. These systems have more complex infrastructure than residential plumbing, and plumbers working on these systems must have a deeper understanding of building codes and other regulations.

Another type of plumber is a drain technician, which is similar to a residential plumber but has more specific job duties. Drain technicians typically focus on drain cleaning and repair, but they also perform inspections of sewer lines and other components. They sometimes need to climb up on roofs and other high places to repair or inspect these systems. As a result, they often need to have excellent physical fitness and agility to work in these challenging environments.