The plumbing industry holds diverse career paths, good wages and the opportunity for individuals to run their own business.

Many plumbers progress to design, consultancy, teaching and management, making the plumbing and heating industry a career with a long-term future.

However, an understanding of maths and science is vital and those on the tools need a head for heights, the ability to work in cramped conditions and the stamina to complete physically hard work day after day.

WaterSafe is made up of seven Approved Contractor Schemes, which all offer information and advice for people thinking of joining the industry.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has published fact sheets to support anyone thinking about joining the trade and you may also find the information below from CIPHE useful.

We would suggest you select your training provider very carefully. Here are some trainers who offer water regulations training and other qualifications.

If you train with an independent trainer it's important to ask if the qualifications you obtain at the end of the programme would allow you to become a WaterSafe approved plumber, as these set a high standard for the industry. At a minimum you would require NVQ Level 2 in England and Wales, and SVQ Level 3 in Scotland (not just the technical certificate). Find out more about these with our full list of accepted qualifications.

You can find out more about the requirements to qualify for WaterSafe in our membership section. If your training doesn't meet these requirements then your qualifications may not be recognised by the industry once you start work.

Training providers who tell you that you will be able to register but do not provide the correct qualifications may well be in breach of consumer legislation and could be subject to investigation by Trading Standards.

How do You become a plumber?

You will need to complete a plumbing course aimed at S/NVQ Level 2/3 qualification, or similar. These courses are usually run by training providers, often called technical colleges.

Plumbing jobs… did you know?

Nearly every building you see around you involves pipework, whether it’s someone’s home or a building or construction site. As a plumber you’ll be working with your hands and solving problems. You’ve probably heard it said many times before – the world always needs plumbers.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

Plumbers need qualifications to prove they can do the job. You’ll usually need GCSES (or equivalent at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and science.

There are various industry-related vocational qualifications you can get, like a level 2 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing and heating. Doing this as a college course can help you get trainee plumbing positions in a company.

Here’s an example of what you could see on a plumbing CV:

BTEC Level 1 / 2 First Award in Construction and the Built Environment (Technical Award)
EAL Level 2 Intermediate Diploma in plumbing (Technical Certificate which you could take at 16)
EAL Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Plumbing
If you want to work with domestic gas heating systems, you’ll also need gas-related units at level 3.

You can also do apprenticeships which will give you a qualification combined with real-life experience.

While at school or college, speak to your careers advisor about useful training and/or courses for you to take and find out more about the types of career routes available.

Career progression and further qualifications
Over time, you could do an HND or degree to become an engineer. From here you’ll have more career options including building services engineering or estimating and contract management.

Author's Bio: 

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