For many homeowners and business managers, plumbers are true heroes. These home service professionals keep the water flowing. This is why becoming a plumber is a smart career choice. Plus, becoming a plumber is a pathway to starting your own business. Read this guide to learn how to get your Louisiana plumbing license.
There are three levels of plumbers in the state of Louisiana:
You do not need a Louisiana plumbing license if the repair work doesn’t exceed $10,000. However, the road to getting your plumber’s license begins as an apprentice.
In Louisiana, you can become an apprentice plumber at the age of 16, provided you are physically capable of doing the required work. Not having a high school diploma or GED isn’t disqualifying for entering an apprentice program. You will just have to demonstrate that you can read instructions and do math associated with the trade. You will need to pass an entrance exam for the program.
Once you pass the aptitude exam, you will need to be accepted by a local union or a licensed plumber. This requirement will provide you with the hands-on work to learn the trade. You will learn the basics of pipe fitting, cutting and repair. You’ll also become familiar with the types of water systems from private well to municipal lines and how to install water heaters, toilets, sinks, faucets, showers, and furnaces. In addition, you could learn basic carpentry skills.
The field work as an apprentice can last between 3 to 4 years. During that time, you also will be required to complete technical courses of up to 144 hours of classroom training.
After you have completed your apprentice program, you can apply to take the Journeyman Plumber’s exam. You will have to prove that you’ve logged up to 8,000 hours working under a licensed plumber. While waiting to take the exam, you can receive a temporary work permit to allow you to work as a Journeyman Plumber; this is not mandatory. A Journeyman Plumber is only permitted to do repair work with their Louisiana plumbing license.
To become a Master Plumber, you need at least 5 years experience working as a licensed Journeyman Plumber. There is another exam required by the state to become a Master Plumber. A Master Plumber is unrestricted with regard to the type of plumbing work they can perform, with the exception of Medical Gas and Water Supply Protection. That work requires special licensing and certification.
In Louisiana, the average hourly pay for a plumber is just over $22. If you have more experience, you can get up to $30 an hour. Plumbers are in high demand across the state. Your career as a plumber can last for more than 15 years.
You need to hold a driver’s license to obtain a Louisiana plumbing license. You also need a clean criminal record.
There are several technical and community colleges that offer plumbing programs
throughout the state. Here’s a list of a few schools:
SOWELA Technical Community College
Delgado Community College
Central Louisiana Technical Community College
South Louisiana Community College
Northshore Technical Community College
Nunez Community College
River Parishes Community College
Capital Area Technical College
The classes teach the basic of plumbing repairs and installation. You also will learn about the various building codes and regulations required by the state. You will learn the proper use of plumbing tools.
Each of the technical schools and community colleges will offer financial aid to qualifying students. Some of the course work can be completed through an online education program. However, you will most likely need to complete physical work in a classroom to graduate. Depending on the school, it might cost up to $3,000 to complete the program.
To earn a Journeyman Plumbing license, you will need to prove that you’ve worked as an apprentice plumber for 8,000 hours or five years. Your application to take the exam will need to be signed by three licensed Journeyman or Master plumbers that can verify your experience. Five years after working as a Journeyman plumber, you can apply for a Master Plumber License.
The State Plumbing Board of Louisiana issues the exams and licenses. The Journeyman Plumber exam fee is $125, and the Master Plumber exam fee is $100. The Journeyman exam takes more than 2.5 hours to complete and consists of 80 multiple-choice questions, covering general plumbing knowledge, permits, and regulations. The Master Plumber exam includes three parts about general plumbing, practical repair, and business law. You can set up your exams and get study guides at the State Plumbing Board of Louisiana
Louisiana has two plumbing unions: UA Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 60 and Local Union 198. Both unions offer apprenticeship programs. Membership also offers additional benefits, such as health insurance and pension plans.
Master plumbers in Louisiana are required to have general liability insurance and vehicle liability insurance for any service trucks. If you are employing workers, then you also need to workers’ compensation insurance. You will not be able to obtain your license until you provide proof of insurance.
Under certain circumstances, plumbing work can be extremely hazardous. There is the potential exposure to many toxic compounds. Wearing protective gear is recommended at all times along with getting your vaccinations.
You can apply for an apprenticeship program through the plumbing unions,Local 198 and Local 60. You can contact any major plumbing business. Resources at your trade school or community college are available to help you find a program, too.
To apply for an apprenticeship program, bring your high school transcripts and recommendation letters from past employers. Dress in professional clothing and be prepared to answer any questions about the plumbing industry,
The Louisiana Department of Health updates the state’s plumbing codes.
You can read blogs to learn about the latest trends in the industry. You also might want to gain a plumbing specialty to expand your expertise. It also will help to periodically attend the plumbing trade shows and expos.
You are required to keep the state plumbing board informed of any address or name change. You also can request a duplicate card if you lose your current one.
Your initial Louisiana plumbing license will expire after one year. You will be notified by mail to renew the license. The renewal fee is $100, and it must be complete before December 31st. You can opt to renew your license for a period of one, two, or three years.
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