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Old 05-09-2016, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default Tips for Preparing for the Master Plumber Exam

You’ve been working as a plumber for a while now, you’re familiar with a variety of different plumbing issues and how to repair them, and you’ve installed your fair share of sinks, toilets and showers. You handle a snake like a master and no drain is too big a challenge for you. You’re ready to move from Journeymen to Master. The only thing standing in your way is the exam.

Although Journeymen plumbers can make decent money working under master plumbers, there’s nothing like being the boss, and the only way that happens is by becoming a master plumber yourself. Below are some things you should consider before taking the… ahem… plunge.

To Test or Not to Test…That Is the Question

Depending on your state, becoming a master plumber may or may not require sitting for the master’s plumber exam. You should check your state’s guidelines and see if that’s a necessity. Also, if you live in an area of the country where you can work in more than one state. For example, the plumbers in the Upper Ohio Valley can easily work in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It would be wise for any plumber in that particular region to find out the requirements to become a master plumber in those three states.

What Kind of Plumber Do You Want to Be?

Well, that depends on what you want to work on. There are five main categories of plumbers: General plumbers, Pipefitters, Steamfitters, Sprinklerfitters and Pipeliners.
• General plumbers work on commercial and residential pipes to kitchens and bathrooms. They also install fixtures such as bathtubs, showers and sinks, repair pipes, remove clogs and perform other duties that have to do with commercial and residential pipes and plumbing.

• Pipefitters install and maintain pressurized pipes used for boilers, furnaces, water tanks and other pressurized equipment. They also install and monitor the controls for these pressurized systems.

• Steamfitters install pipes through which high pressure gasses and liquids travel.

• Sprinklerfitters are specialized plumbers who install fire sprinkler systems in buildings. They have to closely follow code regulations, such as the space between sprinklers, the proper size pipe and the amount of water pressure each pipe can handle.

• Pipeliners dig trenches and lay pipe of all sorts of materials such as concrete, cast iron and metal. These pipes are uses for sewer lines, natural gas or oil pipelines or large water lines. Once the trench is dug, pipeliners lay the pipe and make the connections.
Know What You Need to Know

Whether you’re required to sit for the master plumber exam or not, you’ll still have to demonstrate that you have the knowledge a plumber needs to be classified and licensed as a master plumber. Master plumbers are generally well-versed in these and other areas:
• Building codes at both the state and local levels
• The ability to handle large, complicated installations
• The ability to manage a crew
• Possess the required equipment and tools
There are several websites that can help you determine where you might have knowledge gaps before you apply to become a master plumber or decide the sit for the exam. A few examples are here and here.

Do You Have the Required Length of Experience?

To become a master plumber, a person should work as a journeyman for two to five years. This requirement varies by state, but once you have three years in as a journeyman, you should be able to apply to become a master and achieve that with little difficulty.

Is it really worth it?

According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, yes. A master plumber with several years’ experience can make upwards of $37 per hour. The BLS also states that demand for plumbers is going to increase over the next decade. This means there will be plenty of work for plumbers, regardless of their area of expertise. And the additional good news is that this isn’t a geographical issue, demand is increasing in all 50 states. So, not only can you make a good living and enjoy job security, you can achieve that wherever you want in the U.S.

A plumber can make an excellent living. Some plumbers focus on just one area, such as general plumbing, while others choose to branch out and cover several areas. Whichever area you choose, getting the required experience and then either sitting for an exam or providing the appropriate documentation and proof of knowledge and becoming a master in that area means additional income and an increase in demand for your services.

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Old 05-09-2016, 03:42 PM   #2
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The state master's license here in FL is a {16} hour exam. There are two parts: The trade knowledge which is {9.5} hrs. long, and the business & finance which is {6.5} hrs. long.

I sat for my exam in 2009 after approx. {16} yrs. in the trade.

My advice to anyone in this trade who wants to better themselves is: study and take the exam{s} to progress in the plumbing trade. It is definitely worth the effort. Even if one never works for oneself, it shows any prospective employers that the one possessing the license takes their career seriously.
Hire a licensed master plumber.
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:25 PM   #3
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I took my journeymans, master's class I and II tests in the mid 90's after about 10 or 11 years in the trade. It was and remains a great feeling.
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