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3 Steps to Become a Licensed Plumber

Pursuing the goal of becoming a licensed plumber can be a highly rewarding and successful option for many opting to take the path of a tradesman. However, you certainly have some work to do. Becoming a fully licensed and certified journeyman plumber does require a fair amount of learning, testing, and hands-on training through an apprenticeship.

If you’re interested, but you need to know more, follow along—Illinois Plumbing Consultants is here to detail the basic path to becoming licensed in Illinois.

Step One: Obtain Your High School Diploma or an Equivalent GED

The trade of plumbing is overall quite learnable. However, it takes a fair mastery of many basics that you will learn throughout the process of receiving a diploma or GED. The basis of knowledge that applies to a plumber includes:

  • Algebra and geometry
  • The sciences—particularly physics and thermodynamics
  • Units of measurement
  • Computer knowledge—primarily for drafting

Step Two: Enroll in Plumbing Vocational Training & Get Into Apprenticeship

The information you gained while pursuing your GED or diploma lays a great groundwork, and once that is done, it’s time to move into more specialized training. Vocational training to be a licensed plumber will predominantly revolve around preparing you for plumbing license testing and will include a broad range of topics that a professional needs to be able to know and understand.

Apprenticeship will earn you on-the-job training and will provide the greatest level of overall learning through doing. Your time as an apprentice plumber in Illinois will take roughly four years― however, apprentices do earn a salary!

Step Three: Become a Licensed Plumber

In order to perform commercial or residential plumbing work anywhere, you must be licensed within the state where you are working. For example, if you want to be a plumber in Chicago, you must be licensed in the state of Illinois. Obtaining a license requires a fairly extensive exam, though if you have gone through the other steps, then the exam should be fairly simple. You may also retake it if you don’t quite get through the first time. The IDPH offers excellent in-depth information on obtaining your Illinois plumbing license if you would like to know more.

What Will Impact My Earnings as a Licensed Illinois Plumber?

Naturally, it’s important to know what you can expect to earn throughout your career as a plumber! A variety of factors can impact your overall earnings, which we will go over in a moment. As a baseline for you to know, licensed plumbers in Illinois typically earn (using an average):

  • Plumbing apprentice: $47,000/year on average
  • Plumbing journeyman: $57,000/year on average
  • Master Plumber: $76,000/year on average

Note that as we mentioned before, your earnings can be impacted by a range of factors. Some of the most notable and common include:

  • Years of working experience
  • Specialized knowledge—usually obtained from pursuing specialized training and further education
  • Availability and competition
  • Where you choose to work—for example, while the competition is higher in Chicago or near the Quad Cities, the overall pay is higher, too

Begin Your Plumbing Education with Illinois Plumbing Consultants

The quality of your education and the connections you make while learning and apprenticing will have a drastic impact on the quality of your life as a professional plumber. At Illinois Plumbing Consultants, training the next generation of plumbers and providing further training for those looking to grow and evolve is our passion!

If you’re ready to take the next step, register with us online, or call 866-608-9523 to find out more!

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Our Educators
Our Instructors Have Real-World Experience
Jeff Swanson

Jeff brings over 50 years of experience in the trades. He is a Master Plumber, Master Pump Installer, Licensed CCCDI, EPA certified in lead removal, HVAC Certified Technician, EPA certified refrigerant practices instructor and IDPH Certified Instructor.

Rick Sperando

Rick Sperando has been in the plumbing industry for over 35 years. He successfully owns and operates a local plumbing and mechanical company as well as IPC.

Scott Underwood

Scott Underwood brings over 20 years of industry experience along with 10 years of instruction. He currently holds his IL Plumbers License as well as his CCCDI license. Scott is currently a co-owner of a successful plumbing company in McHenry County.

Read About Our Educators