Is Plumbing for Me? (12 Questions You Should Ask Yourself)

Have you ever wondered if plumbing is the right career choice for you? With so many factors to consider, it can be overwhelming to decide.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this trade, from the benefits and qualifications to work-life balance and personal experiences of other plumbers.

Table of contents

12 Questions you need to ask yourself when considering a plumbing career

1. Am I interested in working with my hands and solving practical problems

Plumbing involves hands-on work, requiring manual dexterity and problem-solving skills.

A positive answer suggests a natural inclination towards the physical and practical aspects of plumbing, indicating a potential fit for the profession.

Lack of interest may imply that the hands-on nature of plumbing does not align with your preferences.

2. Do I have the physical stamina to perform physically demanding tasks, such as lifting heavy objects or working in confined spaces?

Plumbing often involves tasks that can be physically strenuous and demanding.

If you have good physical stamina, it indicates that you are well-suited to handle the physical challenges of the profession.

Insufficient stamina may require building up physical fitness or considering other roles within the plumbing industry that are less physically demanding.

3. Am I comfortable working with various tools and equipment commonly used in plumbing?

Plumbers work with a wide range of tools and equipment as part of their daily tasks.

Comfort and familiarity with tools imply a higher likelihood of adapting well to the practical aspects of plumbing.

Lack of comfort may require additional training or a period of adjustment to become proficient in using the tools.

4. Can I work well in different environments, such as residential, commercial, or industrial settings?

Plumbers may work in various settings, and the environment can significantly impact the nature of the work.

Being adaptable and comfortable in different environments suggests greater flexibility in job opportunities.

A preference for specific settings may influence the type of plumbing work or specialization you pursue.

5. Am I willing to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies and industry advancements?

Plumbing technology and practices evolve over time, and staying updated is crucial for professional growth.

A willingness to learn and adapt indicates the proactive mindset necessary to stay current in the field.

Resistance to learning and embracing new technologies may limit career advancement or lead to outdated skills.

6. Can I handle working in potentially challenging or uncomfortable conditions, such as extreme temperatures or dirty environments?

Plumbing work may involve working in diverse and sometimes unfavorable conditions.

Being comfortable with challenging conditions shows resilience and adaptability, important qualities for successful plumbers.

Discomfort in adverse conditions may limit job opportunities or require seeking specialized plumbing roles that involve more favorable work conditions.

7. Am I detail-oriented and capable of following precise instructions, codes, and regulations?

Precision and adherence to codes and regulations are essential for safe and compliant plumbing work.

Being detail-oriented suggests an ability to work meticulously, ensuring accuracy and compliance with standards.

A lack of attention to detail may lead to errors, safety hazards, or code violations.

8. Can I effectively communicate with clients and colleagues to understand their needs and provide clear explanations?

Communication skills are vital for effective client interactions and collaboration with colleagues.

Strong communication abilities enable better understanding of clients’ plumbing requirements and effective problem-solving.

Weak communication skills may hinder client satisfaction and impede teamwork.

9. Am I prepared for the possibility of working irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, or emergency callouts?

Plumbing work may involve unpredictable schedules and emergency response requirements.

Being open to irregular hours and emergency callouts demonstrates a willingness to accommodate clients’ needs.

A preference for predictable schedules may necessitate seeking plumbing roles that offer more structured working hours.

10. Do I have the patience and problem-solving skills required to troubleshoot complex plumbing issues?

Plumbing often involves diagnosing and resolving complex problems, requiring patience and critical thinking.

Possessing patience and strong problem-solving skills allows for effective troubleshooting and finding solutions to challenging plumbing issues.

Lack of patience or problem-solving abilities may result in frustration and difficulties in resolving complex problems.

11. Can I handle the potential pressure and stress of time-sensitive projects or emergency repairs?

Plumbing projects may have strict deadlines, and emergency repairs often require quick response times.

Being able to handle pressure and stress demonstrates the ability to work efficiently under time constraints and in urgent situations.

Difficulty coping with pressure may lead to compromised work quality or increased stress levels.

12. Am I comfortable with the potential risks associated with working with hazardous materials or in potentially dangerous situations?

Plumbing work may involve exposure to hazardous materials, such as chemicals or asbestos, and potentially dangerous situations, such as working at heights or in confined spaces.

Comfort with handling risks indicates a willingness to follow safety protocols and take necessary precautions.

Discomfort or fear of hazardous materials or dangerous situations may impact job performance or pose safety concerns.

What do you need to consider before becoming a plumber?

  • Education and training: Research the educational and training requirements to become a plumber in your country or region. Typically, this involves completing an apprenticeship program, vocational training, or a plumbing trade school. Understand the qualifications, certifications, and licenses needed to work as a plumber in your area.
  • Skills and abilities: Plumbing requires specific skills and abilities. Assess if you have an aptitude for problem-solving, critical thinking, and manual dexterity. Plumbing involves working with tools, pipes, fittings, and various systems, so having good hand-eye coordination and attention to detail is crucial.
  • Physical demands: Plumbing can be physically demanding. Plumbers often work in tight spaces, crawl through pipes, and lift heavy equipment. Consider if you are physically fit and able to handle the physical demands of the job.
  • Safety considerations: Plumbing work can involve potential hazards, such as exposure to hazardous materials, working with high-pressure systems, and electrical risks. Understand the safety protocols and precautions necessary to ensure your well-being and the safety of others.
  • Work environment: Plumbers work in a variety of settings, including residential, commercial, and industrial sites. Consider if you are comfortable working in different environments, whether it’s cramped spaces, construction sites, or customer homes.
  • Business aspects: If you plan to work as a self-employed plumber, you’ll need to consider the business side of things. This includes marketing your services, managing finances, dealing with clients, and understanding local regulations and permits for running a plumbing business.
  • Career prospects and market demand: Research the job market and demand for plumbers in your area. Look into the projected growth of the plumbing industry and potential opportunities for career advancement.
  • Financial considerations: Evaluate the potential earning prospects and financial stability of a career in plumbing. Consider the initial costs of training and acquiring necessary tools and equipment.
  • Continuing education: Plumbing is a field that requires ongoing learning and staying up to date with industry trends, codes, and technologies. Determine if you are committed to continuous education and professional development.
  • Personal interest and satisfaction: Finally, assess your personal interest and satisfaction with plumbing as a career. Talk to professionals in the field, read about the experiences of others, and try to gain exposure to plumbing work through internships or shadowing opportunities to see if it aligns with your interests and goals.

What qualifications do I need to become a plumber?

To become a plumber, you will typically need to acquire certain qualifications and certifications.

The specific requirements may vary depending on your location, but generally, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Completing a plumbing apprenticeship program is crucial, as it provides a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training.

Some regions may also require you to pass a licensing exam or obtain specific certifications, such as backflow prevention certification or gasfitting certification.

It is essential to research the qualifications mandated by your local plumbing authority or trade organization to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements.

How long does it take to become a plumber?

The time it takes to become a plumber can vary based on several factors, including the educational path you choose and the requirements in your area.

Typically, completing a plumbing apprenticeship can take anywhere from 2 to 5 years.

During this apprenticeship, you will gain valuable on-the-job training and practical experience under the guidance of experienced plumbers.

However, if you opt for a formal plumbing trade school or vocational training program, the duration may be shorter, typically ranging from several months to a year.

Keep in mind that some programs may have prerequisites or entry requirements that can influence the overall duration. I

How much does it cost to be a plumber?

he cost of becoming a plumber can vary depending on various factors, including the educational path you choose and the location where you pursue your training.

Generally, the expenses involved in becoming a plumber include tuition fees for vocational training or trade school programs, costs associated with apprenticeship programs, textbooks and study materials, necessary tools and equipment, and licensing or certification fees.

These costs can range from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of dollars.

For example, online training costs between $800 and $1000, while an associate’s degree in plumbing technology costs $3,000 to $23,000.

Additional costs for plumbing training range from $500 to $10,000 and may include books, tools, uniforms, and living costs.

What are the benefits of being a plumber?

  • Strong job demand: Plumbing is an essential service, and there is a consistent demand for skilled plumbers. As long as there are buildings and plumbing systems, there will be a need for plumbers. This job security can provide stability and long-term employment opportunities.
  • Lucrative earning potential: Plumbers often enjoy competitive wages and the potential for higher earning as they gain experience and expertise. Skilled plumbers can earn a respectable income that can provide financial stability and support their desired lifestyle.
  • Diverse career opportunities: Plumbing offers a range of career paths and opportunities. Plumbers can work in various sectors, including residential, commercial, and industrial settings. They can choose to work for established plumbing companies, start their own businesses, or even specialize in specific areas like green plumbing or medical gas installation.
  • Hands-on and problem-solving work: Plumbing is a hands-on trade that involves working with tools, pipes, and fixtures. For those who enjoy practical work and solving complex problems, plumbing can provide a fulfilling and engaging career. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities to find creative solutions.
  • Independence and flexibility: While plumbers can work as employees, they also have the option to be self-employed. Running your own plumbing business provides independence and the ability to set your own schedule, choose clients, and control your career trajectory. This flexibility can be appealing to those who value autonomy.
  • Job satisfaction: Plumbers often experience a sense of satisfaction from their work. They play a crucial role in maintaining and repairing essential systems that contribute to the health, safety, and comfort of individuals and communities. The ability to solve problems and provide practical solutions can lead to a fulfilling career.
  • Continuous learning and advancement: Plumbing is a dynamic field that requires ongoing learning and staying up to date with industry advancements. Plumbers have opportunities for continuous professional development, expanding their skill set, and specializing in emerging technologies or areas of expertise. This constant learning can keep the work interesting and open doors for career advancement.
  • Contribution to community: Plumbing is a service-oriented profession, and plumbers make a valuable contribution to their communities by ensuring the functioning of essential plumbing systems. They help provide clean water, maintain sanitation, and promote public health and safety. This aspect of the job can give plumbers a sense of pride and fulfillment in making a positive impact.

What is the average salary for a plumber?

The average salary for a plumber in the United States is $59,880 per year, or $28.79 per hour. The best-paid 25% of plumbers made $77,890 in 2021, while the lowest-paid 25% made $46,590.

The average salary for an entry-level plumber is $49,100 per year, or $23.61 per hour. The average salary for a senior plumber is $64,000 per year, or $30.77 per hour.

What is the job outlook for plumbers?

The job outlook for plumbers in the United States is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for plumbers is expected to grow by 5% from 2020 to 2030. About 51,000 job openings are projected per year on average over the decade.

Plumbing is an essential service required in residential, commercial, and industrial settings, ensuring the proper functioning of water supply, drainage, and sanitation systems.

As buildings continue to be constructed and existing infrastructure needs maintenance and upgrades, there is a consistent need for plumbers.

Also, the retirement of experienced plumbers and the shortage of new entrants into the profession contribute to job opportunities.

Advancements in technology and the growing emphasis on eco-friendly and energy-efficient plumbing systems create new avenues for specialization and career growth.

How does plumbing compare to other trades?


Electricians are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems in buildings.

While plumbing focuses on water supply and drainage, electricians deal with electrical wiring, fixtures, and power distribution.

Both trades require technical knowledge, adherence to safety regulations, and problem-solving skills. Plumbing and electrical work often go hand in hand during construction or renovation projects.


Carpenters specialize in constructing, installing, and repairing structures made of wood or other materials.

They work on various components such as framing, cabinets, furniture, and door installations.

Carpentry involves precise measurements, cutting, shaping, and assembling materials.

Plumbers and carpenters often collaborate on projects where plumbing fixtures, such as sinks or bathtubs, need to be integrated into carpentry work.

HVAC technician

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technicians focus on installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

They work with components such as furnaces, air conditioners, ductwork, and thermostats.

While plumbing deals with water-related systems, HVAC technicians handle temperature and air quality control.

There can be overlap between the two trades when it comes to installing plumbing fixtures like water heaters or connecting drainage systems to HVAC equipment.


Welders join metals together using welding techniques, creating structural connections and ensuring their strength and integrity.

Their work is essential in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, and maintenance.

While plumbing primarily deals with pipes and fittings made of different materials, welders may be involved in welding plumbing components or working on infrastructure that requires welding, such as water tanks or industrial plumbing systems.


Roofers specialize in installing, repairing, and maintaining roofs on buildings and structures.

They work with various roofing materials, such as shingles, tiles, or metal sheets, to create weatherproof barriers.

While plumbing focuses on water supply and drainage systems within a building, roofers play a critical role in ensuring proper protection against the elements. Both trades require working at heights, attention to detail, and knowledge of safety protocols.

There may be instances where plumbers and roofers collaborate on projects that involve installing or repairing plumbing vents or flashings that penetrate the roof.

What kind of work do plumbers do?

Plumbers are skilled professionals who perform a wide range of tasks related to water supply, drainage, and sanitation systems.

Their work includes installing and repairing pipes, fixtures, and appliances that facilitate the flow of water in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

Plumbers interpret blueprints, identify plumbing system layouts, and determine the best methods for installation.

They may work on systems such as sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, water heaters, and irrigation systems.

Plumbers also diagnose and fix leaks, clogs, and other plumbing issues, ensuring proper functionality and preventing water damage.

They may install and maintain gas lines, backflow prevention devices, and water treatment systems.

Plumbers are responsible for adhering to building codes and regulations, ensuring the safety and efficiency of plumbing systems, and providing essential services that contribute to public health and sanitation.

What kind of tools do I need to work in plumbing?

  • Pipe wrench: A pipe wrench is a vital tool for gripping and turning pipes and fittings. It comes in various sizes to accommodate different pipe diameters.
  • Adjustable wrench: An adjustable wrench, also known as a crescent wrench, is used for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts of various sizes.
  • Plunger: Plungers are essential for clearing clogs in toilets, sinks, and drains. They create suction and pressure to dislodge blockages.
  • Pipe cutter: A pipe cutter is used to cut pipes cleanly and accurately. It typically consists of a sharp wheel that rotates around the pipe, scoring and gradually cutting through the material.
  • Pipe threader: A pipe threader is used to create threaded connections on pipes. It is especially important for joining pipes and fittings securely.
  • Pliers: Different types of pliers, such as tongue-and-groove pliers (channel locks) and needle-nose pliers, are used for gripping, twisting, and bending pipes, as well as for accessing hard-to-reach areas.
  • Teflon tape: Teflon tape, also known as plumber’s tape, is used to seal pipe threads, preventing leaks in threaded connections.
  • Hacksaw: A hacksaw is used for cutting pipes, particularly when a pipe cutter is not suitable or available. It is versatile and can cut through different pipe materials.
  • Pipe fittings and connectors: Various fittings and connectors, such as couplings, elbows, tees, and valves, are essential for joining and redirecting pipes in plumbing systems.
  • Torch and solder: Plumbers often use a torch and solder for soldering copper pipes. This process creates strong and leak-resistant connections.
  • Measuring tape: A measuring tape is necessary for accurately measuring pipe lengths, distances, and dimensions during installation and repairs.
  • Drain snake or auger: Drain snakes or augers are used to clear stubborn clogs in drains and pipes by breaking through or retrieving debris.

How do I become a master plumber?

To become a master plumber, you typically need to follow a path that includes several key steps.

First, you should acquire a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

Next, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship program, which involves on-the-job training under the guidance of experienced plumbers.

This apprenticeship period can last several years, during which you’ll gain practical experience and knowledge in various aspects of plumbing.

After completing the apprenticeship, you may need to meet specific licensing requirements set by your local or state plumbing board.

These requirements often include passing a written exam that tests your understanding of plumbing codes, regulations, and best practices.

Some jurisdictions may also have additional criteria, such as a certain number of work hours or the completion of specific courses.

Once you obtain your journeyman plumber license, you can gain further experience and expertise by working on more complex plumbing projects.

Finally, to achieve the status of master plumber, you will likely need to fulfill additional requirements, such as obtaining a certain number of years of experience as a journeyman and passing an advanced licensing exam.

What’s the work-life balance for plumbers?

The work-life balance for plumbers can vary depending on factors such as the type of plumbing work, the work environment, and personal preferences.

Generally, plumbers may experience periods of high demand and long working hours during peak seasons or emergency situations.

However, they may also benefit from flexibility in scheduling and the potential for self-employment or freelance work.

With effective time management and planning, plumbers can achieve a reasonable work-life balance.

Is plumbing hard on your body?

Plumbing work can be physically demanding and take a toll on the body. Plumbers often engage in tasks that require lifting heavy objects, working in awkward positions, and navigating confined spaces.

These activities can put strain on the back, shoulders, knees, and other areas of the body.

Also, prolonged standing, repetitive motions, and exposure to extreme temperatures or harsh environments can contribute to fatigue and potential long-term health issues.

However, practicing proper ergonomics, utilizing personal protective equipment, and prioritizing self-care through regular exercise, stretching, and rest can help mitigate the physical impact and promote overall well-being for plumbers.

What do other plumbers think about their job?

Opinions among plumbers regarding their job can vary, but many express a positive outlook and satisfaction with their profession.

Numerous plumbers appreciate the diversity of work, the opportunity to solve problems and help people, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing challenging projects.

They often enjoy the hands-on nature of the job, the ability to work independently or as part of a team, and the potential for career growth and financial stability.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that individual experiences and perspectives may differ, influenced by factors such as the work environment, specific tasks, and personal preferences.

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Author: Logan

I help people connect with businesses