Discover Careers in the Trades
Build a Successful Career in Plumbing
This video was created in partnership with SharkBite, HoldRite and SkillsUSA.

Find out what it takes to be a plumbing or mechanical contractor.

You may have been told that college was the only way to build a strong career. But there is another option. Trade jobs put technical skills and entrepreneurship to good use, giving you a rewarding career in return. Plus, they offer benefits from the moment you start learning — not after you invest in years of school. 

  • Low-to-no student debt. Unlike traditional secondary education, vocational programs are affordable for many students.
  • Job security. Because of the current labor shortage, the plumbing industry is teeming with jobs. 
  • Opportunity to start your own business and be your own boss. Once you gain the proper licenses and certifications, you may decide to start your own company.
  • Pride in craftsmanship. After every repair or installation, you can have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in your work.
  • Earn as you learn as an apprentice. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on school or working unpaid internships, earn wages while training as an apprentice.
  • Potential for professional growth. Advance your career by earning promotions and specializing in different focus areas.

Turning Your Strengths into a Career

Your path to becoming a plumbing professional or mechanical contractor depends on where you live and your interests. But once you decide what you want to do, there’s no limit to your career options. Here’s what your path might look like:

Step 1: Learn

After earning the required entry-level education, learn plumbing basics by working as a laborer for a local company or attending a vocational-technical school.  

Step 2: Train

Complete a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship to refine your skills and get paid in the process.

Step 2: Train

Step 1: Learn

After earning the required entry-level education, learn plumbing basics by working as a laborer for a local company or attending a vocational-technical school.  

Step 2: Train

Complete a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship to refine your technical skills while getting paid in the process.

Step 3: Get Licensed & Grow

Take a licensing exam to become a journeyperson so you can work independently and supervise apprentices. 

Once licensed, obtain additional certifications to sharpen your expertise. You may even decide to become a supervisor, project manager, master plumber or business owner.  

Take the Next Step

Research the Trade

See more reasons to make the trades your future career path.

Explore Additional Resources

Want more information? Check out PHCC's resources for starting a career in plumbing, heating and cooling.

Find a Trade School

See what options are available right now by checking out trade schools near you.


Stay in-the-know

Learn more about how joining the plumbing industry will transform your career.