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The trades are in high demand right now, and there is a shortage of licensed and qualified tradesmen which means that a plumber is a great career to consider if you are looking for job security in New Orleans, LA. Once you have your license you can choose to work on your own or with a company. Either way, you can rest assure that you will have access to a continuous stream of work because as long as there are homes there will be plumbing emergencies that you can solve. Plus, someone has o clean up the mess that homeowners make when they attempt to fix their plumbing on their own (which almost never works out).
However, you can’t just decide to be a plumber, you need to get the right education and experience before you can start to professionally work on other homes in New Orleans, LA. Louisiana breaks the field into three levels – apprentice, journeyman, and master. A Master is considered the top position and where you need to be if you want to earn a reliable income and be properly licensed. WHile Lousiana law only requires you to hold a license if the repair is over $10,000, most homeowners will not hire a plumbing professional that is not properly licensed so getting the jobs and an acceptable pay rate is heavily dependent on doing the work to get the accreditation.
When Can You Start?
The great news for future plumbers is that you can actually start working towards licensing as soon as you turn 16 in the state of Louisiana so long as you can show that you are physically able to handle the demands of the job. You also don’t actually need a diploma or GED to start training as an apprentice, you just need to show that you are able to read fluently, follow instructions, and perform math at the level that is required by the plumbing trade. Before becoming an apprentice you will need to take and pass the entrance exam which is standardized and will basically determine if you are ready to proceed.
What Happens After the Aptitude Exam?
Once you complete the aptitude exam, your next task as a budding plumber is to look for a local licensed plumbing service or a local union that is willing to teach you. As an apprentice, you need to work alongside a fully trained and licensed plumbing service at all times who will teach you the brunt of what you need to know. During this process, you will learn the basics of the trade starting with pipe cutting, fitting, and repair, and extending to all areas of the plumbing trade.
You will need to learn about private and city water lines as well as how to deal with septic tanks and sewer systems. You will also need to learn how to install a large variety of plumbing fixtures with the understanding and comprehension that every single installation will be slightly different since brands and manufacturers have their own requirements outside of the basic water hookups. Some of the most common water fixture installations you will likely repeat over and over again include toilets, faucets, sinks, furnaces, showers, bathtubs, and garbage disposals. Sometimes you might even learn a bit of basic carpentry since installation may require some adjustments as you work.
How Long Are You An Apprentice?
The length of your apprenticeship can vary based on a number of factors and how much time you actually get learning in the field. Every professional plumber has their own way of running their program and how often they let you get the hands-on experience you will need. Shadowing a plumber however is not the only thing you need to do in order to move on within your field and education. You are also required to take a series of technical courses that ensure you know all technical and safety components of the plumbing trade. This coursework can include as much as 144 hours of classroom training, which can sound intense but when spread out over four years is a bit more manageable to run side by side with on the site training.
How Do I Become a Journeyman?
Once you have at least 8,000 hours of time working under the supervision of a licensed plumber and have completed the appropriate classwork, you can apply to take the Journeyman exam. Those who are ready to jump right into the field can apply for a temporary work permit to start working in New Orleans, LA so that you can start working at the Journeyman level, but in most cases, in LA you probably won’t be able to do repair work under the current set of regulations. Therefore, it is usually best to just wait until you take and hopefully pass the exam.
Is It Enough to be a Journeyman?
The short answer is maybe. Journeyman plumbers in Lousiana are only allowed to do repair work. So, if you think you will be happy repairing problems with plumbing systems for your neighbors then you can choose to stop here. However, if you want to be able to work unrestricted in all plumbing work fields, then you will need to continue to work towards the final designation of Master plumber. This will require you to work for at least five years as a journeyman and then apply to take the Master exam. The State Plumbing Board of Louisiana administers the exam which is made up of three parts.
Although you might be considering the plumbing field, until you are trained you will need to hire someone to help with plumbing issues around your home. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of New Orleans can help. Call us today for any of your home plumbing needs.