Becoming A Plumbing Apprentice: Education & Training
Apprentices typically need a high school diploma to get started. You gain all of the education and training you need on the job, while being paid. Apprenticeships last between 4 and 5 years depending on the state (check your state for specific details). During your apprenticeship you will acquire between 7.500 and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and typically between 500 hours and 750 hours of in-class instruction. Once you have met your state's requirements you will mostly complete an exam to get to the next stage of licensing.
License titles differ by state but most commonly, the second stage of licensing is to become a Journeyman Plumber. Journeyman plumbers are required to complete continuing education in many states. Continuing education requirements differ from completing a 5-hour course anytime code changes to completing 12-hours of continuing education every two years before renewing your license. Check your state for details. If you would like to take on a supervisor role or, in some states, open your own plumbing company you will have to strive for the next level in plumbing licensing - most commonly referred to as a Master Plumber or Plumbing Contractor. You will have to complete the state required time as a Journeyman before you can take the exam to become a master.
Master/Plumbing Contractor Education
In most states, becoming a master or plumbing contractor is the end of the line. You will still have to complete continuing education as your state requires but you've reached the top level of licensing. Some states separate master and plumbing contractor licensing into two more levels. In these cases you will have to complete the required time as a master plumber before taking the exam and becoming a plumbing contractor.