There are numerous reasons to become a plumber. These include:
- Job security
- Good pay
- The ability to be your own boss
- You help people
- Job variety
- Stimulating work
- Low cost of entry
- Social interaction
- Respect from your customers
- No more plumbing bills
So how does one become a plumber in Illinois? Here is what is required:
- Age 16 or older
- Must be a U.S. citizen or in the process of becoming one
- Completed at least two years of high school or equivalent
- Completed an approved course instruction through a college, university or trade school
- Been a licensed apprentice plumber for a minimum of four years working under a licensed plumber. Apprentice plumbers perform many of the same tasks as licensed plumbers, including:
o Installing new plumbing fixtures
o Unclogging drains and sewers
o Repairing, assembling and cutting pipes
o Cleaning water supply and disposal systems
o Preparing and cleaning job sites
o Responding to customer inquiries
In Illinois you must complete an application to be an apprentice plumber. The application costs $100.
Upon completion of these requirements, you can apply to become a licensed plumber in Illinois. The application fee is $175 for apprentice plumbers in Illinois, and $225 for plumbers licensed in Chicago or outside the state of Illinois.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Once you start your apprenticeship, you have seven years to obtain the necessary on the job training hours and pass the license exam.
- You cannot take the license exam until you have completed your apprenticeship, which usually takes five years
- The license exam is comprised of a written portion where you are tested on your knowledge of the plumbing code and a practical portion where you have to fabricate several different assemblies of water and waste piping that are tested for dimensional correctness and ability to hold pressure.
On average, 72% of the people taking the plumbing exam fail the exam. If you cannot pass the exam within the seven-year time frame (after completing your five-year apprenticeship), you cannot be a plumber without starting over from the beginning.