Plumbers are essential to keep good sanitation and to facilitate the daily lives of our modern cities. Plumbing falls under the skill trade category. A skill trade is a profession for which you need to complete an apprenticeship program of 4-5 years in an actual plumbing company, in a trade school or university.
Many people in the United States do not fully understand what plumbing involves and our society often do not value the plumbing profession as it should. Many people think all skill trades are just physical labor jobs, but that is a big misconception about plumbing. To become a licensed plumber in today’s competitive market you need to have more than work skills. To become an expert plumber you need to have proficiency in mathematics, trouble shooting, people skills, machine usage, and lately plumbing is overlapping with chemistry (see our Pipe rehabilitation page).
- Trouble Shooting
- People Skills
- Machine Usage
Math: An installation of a sewer line needs to have a quarter inch slope per foot, in order for gravity do its job and not have standing water in the sewer line. If the specifications of septic tanks are not known and you need to pump it out, a quick mathematical formula to find the volume of material the septic tank can hold will give you a precise amount of water gallons.
Trouble shooting: There are a lot of things that can go wrong with plumbing systems, everything in a plumbing system is connected somehow to something else, a plumber has to be able to determine which segment of the system is faulty. There are several flags that will give you clues, so you need to be educated about them and have a good sense of logic to put all of the symptoms together to determine what might be causing the problem.
People Skills: Despite everything you are exposed at the work place (sewer water, mud, soil, and rust), a plumber must always have a nice presentation when first meeting a customer (first impressions go a long way). This does not mean present yourself nicely the first day only. Make sure to always be presentable and pleasant. When you are suggesting a service to a client, you to be able to educate the customer about the service you will be performing. You need to know how to deal with people by always being polite, well spoken, and making sure the customer understands everything that is going on in order for the customer to feel safe having you working on their property.
Machine Usage: Heavy Machinery is becoming essential to provide the best plumbing services in today’s market. Hydro Jets, Jack Hammers, Pipe bursting and many more. All these machines have safety precaution and need skills to be handled properly. For example the hydro jet uses 4,000 psi jets of water to blast off roots, debris or masses blocking your sewer line. 4,000 psi jet of water can literally cut you open in no time, so precautions should be taken and specially trained operators are required.
Chemistry: Pipe rehabilitation technology has gone a long way, and now one of the most popular trench-less service is the “liner”. The liner is a sleeve made out of very absorbent material that goes inside the pipe being rehabilitated (a pipe within a pipe). Later you make a resin mixing two chemicals that with time have a reaction which hardens the sleeve. To be able to perform this service, a formula should calculated based on footage temperature and the kind of chemicals being mixed.
It seems like a lot of work, but many companies will have you focused in one area. You could be in the trench-less crew, the liner crew, hydro jetter crew, or you could be just a regular technician taking service calls for drain cleaning and piping.