It may seem hard to believe, especially to some older, traditionally educated plumbers, but you can now take courses in plumbing over the Internet.Â Online courses are a great option for many reasons: People with families or their own businesses can study at home without having to be away for long hours.Â Commuting costs are eliminated.Â Most online courses allow you to complete your work when it's convenient for you, so whether you're an early bird or a night owl, you can capitalize on that energetic time to do your work.Â Many of the courses are quite affordable, because they don't have the overhead of a bricks-and-mortar campus, and many programs allow you to go at your own pace.
Actual schools spend lots of money to build a campus; this indicates the school's intention of being around for a while.Â It is very fast and relatively cheap to set up a website.Â For this reason, it can be difficult to tell quality online schools from those that are just degree mills looking to make money.Â Before you enroll in any plumbing courses online, check out their accreditation.Â Find out what type of certificate or diploma you will earn.Â Look at the job placement rate of graduates.Â Talk to people on the phone and make sure that they sound professional and knowledgeable; don't just rely on the website for your information.Â Take notes on several different schools, then sit down and compare them to make a final decision.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Not all plumbers make home visits to unclog drains or install toilets.Â Heavy-duty and industrial plumbers must tolerate a completely different type of work environment.Â Keep this in mind as you decide what exactly it is that you want to do within the plumbing profession.Â You may deal with one or more of the following situations:
- dissatisfied or outright angry customers
- unpleasant home environments: smokers, pets, filth, hoarding, and so on
- hazardous situations
- dangerous equipment
- very hot environments
- long an possibly irregular hours
- weather when working outdoors
- heavy lifting
- exposure to sewage stench and sewage itself
- cramped working conditions
- frequent minor injuries and burns
Many people aren't aware that there are different types of plumbing sub-specialties.Â You can study to become one of the following (as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website1):
- Plumbers install and repair the water, waste disposal, drainage and gas systems in homes and commercial and industrial buildings.Â Plumbers also install plumbing fixturesâ€”bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toiletsâ€”and appliances such as dishwashers, waste disposers, and water heaters.
- Pipelayers lay clay, concrete, plastic or cast-iron pipe for drains, sewers, water mains, and oil or gas lines.Â Before laying the pipe, pipelayers prepare and grade the trenches either manually or with machines.Â After laying the pipe, they weld, glue, cement or otherwise join the pieces together.
- Pipefitters install and repair both high-pressure and low-pressure pipe systems used in manufacturing, in the generation of electricity, and in the heating and cooling of buildings.Â They also install automatic controls that are increasingly being used to regulate these systems.
- Steamfitters install pipe systems that move liquids or gases under high pressure.
- Sprinklerfitters install automatic fire sprinkler systems in buildings.
While plumbing basics are consistent across the board, you may at some point be offered an option (or be required) to choose specialty plumbing courses, so being familiar with these positions, and how they work together as part of a team, is essential when planning your education and your career.