Plumbing in the Home/Plumbing..


QUESTION: I was wondering. Are you a plumber? I was wondering what is involved when it comes to becoming a plumber.

ANSWER: Dear James,

    I have never personally gone through the steps to get my master plumber's license.  And those steps can vary depending on what city and state you live in.  The field requires strong mechanical ability and understanding.  If you enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again, troubleshooting problems and solving difficult issues then this could be an enjoyable field for you.

   Most people begin in a trade school, and then move on to a job in the field.  Most areas require an apprenticeship period during which you might obtain different levels of license for the work... Journeyman and so forth.... some of those levels require testing and the master plumbing exams can be very difficult.  Along the way you learn and get certified in many different but related fields.  You would deal with electricity, refrigeration, pressurized water systems and pumps, different valves, heating systems... plumbing work is rarely boring.

Good luck James,  I hope that this encourages you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Honestly that sounds terrifying. I was in school most recently to become a lab technician and had to quit both because it didn't interest me enough for the amount it cost, and also since I already have 100+ college credits I couldn't even get a loan for my schooling. I was hoping you'd tell me that plumbing would be much easier. At least it shouldn't involve much biology? lol. Why would they learn about electricity? Wouldn't an electrician handle that stuff? How long does it generally take to become a plumber? I'm 32 years old and tired of learning new stuff that I never end up using.

My questions are how many years of formal training do plumbers undergo, and why would they need to learn about electricity other than to keep plumbing away from it? lol. Is it like the priesthood and a life long committment to learn more on the subject, or is it more like a 2 year or less technical program that leads into an apprenticeship?

Sorry James,

   The simple answer is that no formal training is required for anyone to find work in the plumbing field, but generally yes, a year or two of trade school is normal for those who have no prior background or experience and want to gain an understanding of the systems.  Also, I mentioned electrical work and HVAC work because they are closely related to the plumbing field and there are times when they cross over from one trade to the other... such as with boiler systems, electric water-heaters, garbage disposals etc....  

   I got my start working for a small company that specialized in Sewer and Drain cleaning... similar to Roto-Rooter.  However, I had a background familiarity with farming and ranching which taught me a lot about mechanical systems, electrical stuff and other things which helped me get started quickly.

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Thomas Ambler


I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.


I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

Asbury Park Press, Seattle Times, Denver Post.

I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

Past/Present Clients
All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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