How much does plumbing school cost?
If you want to become a plumber, expect to spend between $1,000 and $18,000 for tuition and materials. Your total cost will depend on your school’s location, whether you attend part-time or full-time, and how long it takes you to complete the program.
More importantly, though: most plumbing apprenticeships cost nothing at all! An apprenticeship is the most common way someone learns how to become a plumber. You’ll be taught by experienced plumbers who show you what they do on the job. You’ll also take courses at a local community college or vocational school while you learn on the job too.
Apprenticeships can take three-to-five years to finish. Federal requirements vary depending on your state. During that time, you’ll be paid by your employer as an apprentice employee but not usually based on experience like other employees are paid.
Cost of tuition, materials and certification
The cost of plumbing school varies widely by the type of program and whether it’s public or private. Since tuition rates aren’t regulated, it’s important to consider all costs when budgeting for school.
Plumbing school costs generally depend on your location, program length and how quickly you complete the coursework. Many programs are based on a traditional semester schedule, with fall and spring semesters that run 15-16 weeks long. Summer sessions may be shorter than 15 weeks as well.
Tuition varies by program type, which can include:
- Diploma programs: Some programs allow you to earn a diploma in a specific field after attending class for one year or less. These types of programs are often offered at private institutions or technical schools.
- Technical certificates: A certificate is an award you receive after completing one segment of study in a particular field, such as HVAC systems or electrical work. If a college offers only one certificate course for plumbing students—for example, basic maintenance—it may be offered at no cost to students who have completed prerequisite courses elsewhere.* Associate degrees: In order to receive an associate degree from a community college or technical school, you’ll need to take courses in subjects like mathematics and composition alongside your plumbing classes.* Bachelor’s degrees: Typically found at four-year universities and technical colleges, bachelor’s degrees usually require four years of full-time study (with summers off). This degree route is best suited for those looking to start their own business or transition into teaching later on in their careers.* Master’s degrees: Master’s degree programs can take up to two years once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree. These types of programs typically require additional research projects and could qualify you for advanced positions within the industry.
Additional Costs for Students
There are several additional costs associated with plumbing school. Books and tools, for example, will add up to about $2,000 in expenses. A license for a plumber can cost between $200 and $400; however, some states do not require licensure. Certification is also optional–but recommended–and costs around $300.
Plumbing scholarships and grants
You’ll also find a variety of plumbing scholarships, grants and loans available to you. However, you must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for them. For instance, you might be required to:
Be full-time students enrolled at an accredited institution of higher learning
Be in good standing with the school
Demonstrate financial need
Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
Have graduated from high school or its equivalent
Expected Length of Program
The length of time it takes to become a journeyman plumber depends on where you live and the program you choose. Most apprenticeship programs last about three years, but the exact length can vary based on how many hours each week you work as an apprentice and whether or not the program includes an internship.
Most programs are three years long, but they can be shorter if you already have experience in related fields such as HVAC or electrical work. On the other hand, programs might be a bit longer if they include some combination of internship and/or classroom training. You also need to factor in how much work experience will count toward your apprenticeship hours before being eligible to take the licensing exam in your state. For example, if two years’ worth of experience working full-time as an electrician counts toward your apprenticeship hours then that will shorten both your overall time spent earning credits for licensure and what you owe for tuition because class fees at partner schools typically go by semester credit hour cost instead of total tuition costs up front.
There are many different types of plumbing schools in the U.S.
There are many different types of plumbing schools in the U.S. Plumbing schools can be found at technical schools, community colleges and through apprenticeships. Plumbing programs offered at technical schools are often more costly than those offered at community colleges, but both types of plumbing schools offer excellent training and a competitive edge when it comes to finding a job after graduation. Apprenticeships are also an ideal way to get into the plumbing trade without attending a specific school.
The programs offered at technical schools are usually more expensive than those offered at community colleges, though the education will be similar.
While it doesn’t cost too much to attend community college, the experience is very different. The tuition costs are significantly lower than at a technical school ($10,000 per year), but there will also be fewer options and opportunities. In essence, you’ll get more bang for your buck when you go to a trade school, because their programs are usually more comprehensive.
Apprenticeships are the most common way to become a plumber. They pay while you learn the ropes
- Apprenticeships are the most common way to become a plumber. They pay while you learn the ropes.
To sign up for an apprenticeship, you’ll need to contact a plumbing company or union in your area. Some apprenticeships will be paid by the company and others by a local union that supports those companies. The average cost of an apprenticeship is $30k-50k. The actual cost depends on geographic location and your length of program, but could be significantly more expensive than paying tuition at a plumbing school depending on where you live.
This brings us back around to education costs. If you’re going to become a plumber through an apprenticeship, it’s still important to understand what your potential educational costs are so that you can determine whether it’s best for your financial situation to go through with an apprenticeship or enroll in plumbing school instead.
Once you finish an apprenticeship, you can get a license to work as a plumber at your own business
The final step to becoming a plumber is to get your license. This usually happens after you finish an apprenticeship, which lasts between four and five years. Technically, you can become a plumber without getting your license, but it’s not recommended. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but in general, here’s what you need:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be able to speak and write English
- Pass a test
If you meet these requirements and pass the test, you should be able to obtain your license. Once you have the license, there are some new opportunities available for you:
- Start your own plumbing business
- Work as an independent contractor
Some plumbers work for an established company, but most own and operate their own company.
Whether you choose to specialize as a pipefitter or a plumber, you’ll need to buy your own tools. Fortunately, plumbers can earn enough money to pay for the tools required for their trade.
Some plumbers work for an established company, but most own and operate their own company. The average salary of a full-time plumber is $53,910 per year as of May 2017. Self-employed plumbers are paid less than those who work in plumbing companies because they do not receive benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. However, self-employed plumbers usually make more money because they can hire employees and subcontractors and charge higher rates.
What Prospective Students Should Know Before Starting Plumbing School
If you’re considering a career in the trade, it’s important to prepare yourself for everything involved. Aside from the cost of training, you’ll also need to consider what’s required of you during class and how long training will take. Additionally, it’s crucial to understand exactly what qualities make one plumbing school better than another.
Here are some factors that should be considered before enrolling:
- Why do you want to attend?
- Do your research.
- What is the size of the class? Are there any prerequisites? Is financial aid available for those who qualify?
- What is their graduation rate/success rate?
The cost of being a plumber is worth it.
Having to pay for plumbing school is one of the biggest obstacles that keeps people from pursuing their dreams. If you’re trying to figure out how much plumbing school costs, you’re going to be disappointed.
Plumbing school can be expensive. It ranges from $25,000 to $40,000 for tuition and fees on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The cost of plumbing school varies depending on where you live and what type of program you attend. You may be able to get financial aid or work-study programs if you apply early enough in advance.