While new technology has made many professions obsolete, it has not minimized the roles that plumbers play in private and public life. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average growth rate for all professions through the year 2020 is 14 percent. For plumbers, however, it's almost double. Fortunately, those interested in becoming plumbers can enroll in a wide array of schools nationwide.
A variety of schools and organizations across the Northeast give aspiring plumbers the training they need to work professionally. In New York, the U.S. Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, offers plumbing education programs at 37 sites across the state. The Peterson School has campuses throughout New England where plumbers can also prep for licensing exams. Pennsylvania College of Technology, affiliated with Penn State, operates under the guidance of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology Advisory Committee. Upon graduation, students enrolled in the plumbing program can receive a certificate or pursue a Bachelor of Science in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters of the United States and Canada in Landover, Maryland, prepares students for plumbing apprenticeships. It grants certificates for skills such as cross connection and backflow prevention. The Northeast Florida Builders Association, or NEFBA, in Jacksonville and the Plumbing Contractors Association in Miami offer apprenticeships in Florida. However, there is also a host of community colleges across the South that offer plumbing certificate programs. These include Delaware County Community College in Delaware and Lawson State in Birmingham, Alabama.
Midwest and Mountain Region
Numerous technical and community colleges, as well as plumbing education programs, are run by plumber's unions across the Midwest and in the adjoining mountain states. City Colleges of Chicago in Illinois offers a certificate in basic plumbing that prepares graduates to work as assistants to master plumbers. North Dakota State College of Science's program can be completed in nine months. The Department of Workforce Development in Wisconsin gives those accepted into its plumbing program the knowledge and skills needed to enter the field. Other state labor departments that offer training in plumbing include Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
In California, City College of San Francisco, San Diego City College, and Los Angeles Trade Technical College are a few of many programs that offer plumbing degrees and certificates. High school grads who pass an entrance exam are eligible to become part of the Plumbers and Fitters United Association Local Union 675’s apprenticeship program in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Alaska Works Partnership provides free basic plumbing education to Alaskans across the state, and the governments of both Oregon and Washington have a number of career development programs in place for plumber trainees.
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