Ready to become a plumber? To start a fulfilling career in the plumbing industry, you must meet specific requirements in the state of Indiana.
This guide will walk you through the licensing process, how to land your first apprentice job, and valuable resources to help you work for an employer or start your own plumbing business.
You cannot do plumbing work in Indiana without a license. Apprentices are the only exception, but they must work with a licensed plumber.
To become a licensed plumber in Indiana, you must first work as an apprentice and then a journeyman. You are required to be at least 17 years of age to become an apprentice.
Apprentices spend at least 4 years working in a state-approved plumbing program before becoming a journeyman. If you possess a plumbing license from another state, Indiana allows you to skip the apprentice program and immediately become a journeyman.
The average wage for plumbers in Indiana ranges from $10 to $50 per hour. While apprentices make around $10 per hour, journeymen can make $25 per hour or more. Experienced plumbers get paid up to $50 per hour.
Typically, apprentice plumbers will clean lines and assemble parts. They also can respond to questions from customers and prepare job sites. A journeyman plumber is responsible for following state codes, testing components, assembling parts, and installing new plumbing supplies.
There’s a high need for plumbers. The average career length ranges from 10 to 20 years. Some plumbers retire early due to the long hours and physical constraints.
The Indiana Plumbing Commission is responsible for providing licenses to state plumbers. Before becoming a plumber, you must do an apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship requires 576 hours of training in a school setting and 1,900 hours of fieldwork each year for 4 years. You also need to complete 7,600 hours of training in the field and on the job. Several technical schools in Indiana offer apprentice training, including AC/C Tech and Mechanical Skills, Inc.
Your educational costs will depend on both the plumbing program and the school. Online programs often charge less than $1,000 per year but do not include any fieldwork opportunities. Career and vocational schools offer certificate programs that cost up to $3,000 per year. Most community colleges offer financing options, such as payment plans and loans.
To get a journeyman license, you must pay a $25 application fee. You'll also take an exam after completion of your fieldwork and apprenticeship. Contractors must take a similar exam that focuses on sewage and drainage systems for residential and commercial properties. The contractor license requires an application fee of between $50 and $100. Exams are available from the International Code Council (ICC) with online registration. The ICC website also offers free resources to help you prepare for the exams.
A criminal background check is part of the licensing process. Though felons can apply for an Indiana plumbing license, it depends on the type of crime. For example, crimes against people may block someone from getting a license.
UA Local 440 is one of the main unions in Indiana for plumbers and pipefitters. Unions can arrange an apprenticeship and help you advertise your new business. Plumbers in the union also can offer guidance for passing the exam and getting your Indiana plumber license.
Plumbers in Indiana must have insurance. The policy should cover you and any employees you hire. Most plans offer premiums between $600 and $1,700 and give you up to $2 million worth of coverage per calendar year. The plan will cover any injuries you have on the job and any damage that a worker does to a property.
To get a plumbing apprenticeship, you need to either work with a licensed plumbing company in Indiana or attend a trade school. Unions also can help you get an apprenticeship. UA Local 440 in Indianapolis offers training for students with a GED or high school diploma. The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) offers a list of companies that hire apprentices.
For interviews, dress in business casual and expect to answer questions about your desire to become a plumber and your current background.
Your Indiana plumbing license does not allow you to work in other states.
The Indiana Association of Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors (IAPHCC) offers workshops and conferences to help plumbers stay up to date with plumbing codes. You also can learn about these codes through online courses and vocational schools.
Several resources are available to help you advance your plumbing career. Visit these industry sites:
I changed my name: You will need to contact the PLA and submit proof of your legal name change to get a new Indiana plumbing license.
I misplaced my card: You can contact the PLA in-person or over the phone and have a new card sent to your listed address.
I changed my address: To change your address, you must show a PLA official proof of your new address, such as a government ID or a utility bill.
The state of Indiana will notify you at least 90 days before your license expiration date. You can renew your license online and get verification of your renewal within 24 hours.
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