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I enjoy fixing and tinkering.........
I fix and tinker too, but professional plumbing is not a hobby, and I bet 90% of what you've done so far isn't relevant. New construction hardly solders anything anymore and soldering in your garage is nothing like soldering a joint in a stud bay up against some drywall on a service call.

Pull your toilet and try to re-set it within an hour, no leaks, new hard supply line. Don't get water on the floor and don't get wax or schit over everything. If you can't pull and re-set a toilet you're useless. It's straight forward so no one will need to show you how to do it.
 

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Hey everyone,

So I'll probably get banned for this post since I'm not yet a professional, but I need some advice on making a career change to a plumber, or at least a part-time plumber

I'm currently a pilot for a major airline in the US and wanted to see what's the best way to become a plumber. This is something I've thought about doing for a while, but I was hesitant to give up flying since I enjoy it for the most part. I have a family friend I grew up with who owns his own shop and I thought about going out with him on jobs and helping out.

My plan would be to still fly (if possible) while gaining the necessary hours to become licensed. I'm in the tri-state area (think NY, NJ). Is there any chance at making this work without leaving flying all together and focusing on plumbing for 5+ years?

Maybe I can find a shop that just needs help part time and I could apprentice there when I'm off from my main job. If anyone get give me some advice before I get banned, I'd appreciate it!

Thanks so much.
Well you’re a special case. I don’t see the need for banning you for asking questions about entering the trade. As a pilot you have a skillset that most don’t. I flew a Cobra once and I sucked at it.

I don’t see why you shouldn’t ask your buddy if he could use a helping hand when your home! I know a commercial pilot, so I’m familiar with your downtime. But like the other, very experienced guys here said, don’t expect to make anywhere near what you make now before you have 15-20 years of full time plumbing. Plumbing is very hard on the body! The older you are the more you hurt… everyday pain. Knees, back, shoulders, elbows… you name the body part that can have a chronic pain and someone here will say can tell you all about it. Probably why we all come off as azzholes.
Learn all you can in life! If you work for your buddy off and on, learn a few things, be able to work on your own house, help out a friend or family member, make some extra cash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I fix and tinker too, but professional plumbing is not a hobby, and I bet 90% of what you've done so far isn't relevant. New construction hardly solders anything anymore and soldering in your garage is nothing like soldering a joint in a stud bay up against some drywall on a service call.

Pull your toilet and try to re-set it within an hour, no leaks, new hard supply line. Don't get water on the floor and don't get wax or schit over everything. If you can't pull and re-set a toilet you're useless. It's straight forward so no one will need to show you how to do it.
Tough crowd here lol, but I appreciate your honesty. I just mentioned I do some of the work when I can and feel I can get the hang of it. Isn’t that the point of apprenticeship to learn? At least that’s the mentor ship works in flying. Still there is tons of things in the plumbing world I don’t know about.

Btw, you guys really impress me with the work you do. I love seeing someone practice their craft that they learned through the years. Thanks for the post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Well you’re a special case. I don’t see the need for banning you for asking questions about entering the trade. As a pilot you have a skillset that most don’t. I flew a Cobra once and I sucked at it.

I don’t see why you shouldn’t ask your buddy if he could use a helping hand when your home! I know a commercial pilot, so I’m familiar with your downtime. But like the other, very experienced guys here said, don’t expect to make anywhere near what you make now before you have 15-20 years of full time plumbing. Plumbing is very hard on the body! The older you are the more you hurt… everyday pain. Knees, back, shoulders, elbows… you name the body part that can have a chronic pain and someone here will say can tell you all about it. Probably why we all come off as azzholes.
Learn all you can in life! If you work for your buddy off and on, learn a few things, be able to work on your own house, help out a friend or family member, make some extra cash.
Hey, thanks for keeping me around. So what I’m starting to realize is that this won’t work for me the way I planned. It’s not like I’m old, but maybe I’m too far in my career to really go back and reinvent myself. I love flying and oftentimes cannot picture myself not doing it.

I like the idea of helping my friend out when I’m home. If anything it’ll get me out of the house and pick up some new skills.

If anyone in Central or North NJ needs someone to tag along as a helper, or could show me a “day in the life”, let me know. At least you know I’m dependable and would show up on time! I fly out of Newark if anyone’s around there. Thanks again everyone!
 

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Hey, thanks for keeping me around. So what I’m starting to realize is that this won’t work for me the way I planned. It’s not like I’m old, but maybe I’m too far in my career to really go back and reinvent myself. I love flying and oftentimes cannot picture myself not doing it.

I like the idea of helping my friend out when I’m home. If anything it’ll get me out of the house and pick up some new skills.

If anyone in Central or North NJ needs someone to tag along as a helper, or could show me a “day in the life”, let me know. At least you know I’m dependable and would show up on time! Thanks again everyone!
Mid 20s isn't too old. I'm mid 30s and I switched to plumbing about 2 years ago. A good friend is in his mid 40s and just started his apprenticeship. Both of us took pay cuts to do so, but couldn't be happier.

You really do have to love this stuff to be great at it. And I mean live and breathe it. But it's also a great career if you've got the guts for it. Hands down the second best choice I ever made.
 

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I do think you would be nuts to want to leave your potential salary for that of a plumber, but I am not you, nor do I know your situation. I know that I would not want the awesome responsibility that you have for people's lives every day. You have to do what makes you happy, and money is not everything. How much do we REALLY need anyway? The great thing about being a pilot is that you get to cavort with the stewardesses. The bad thing about being a pilot is that you are surrounded buy stewardesses. Other than teachers and nurses I can't think of a more whiney, entitled group of crybabies. It's no coincidence that all 3 professions are dominated by women, but I digress.

Yes, you can make 6 figures after becoming licensed, if you are a crackerjack and you want to hustle and bust your a$$. If you enjoy having headaches and want to own your own business you can do even better, but you will earn it. You are still plenty young enough to do it. I changed careers and started my apprenticeship at 50. I wish I had done it 5 years earlier, but it's still working out good for me. I am not at 6 figures, but am close to making what I did before changing careers. I will surpass it in a few years. Some may question the wisdom of taking so long to get back to where I was, but that is not for them to say, only me. I really enjoy what I am doing now, and I was miserable for the last 10 years at my other job. Try and put a price on that. They are right that plumbing is not a hobby, so if you are going to do it, go into it giving your all. If you just like to learn the right way how to do basic plumbing, some schools have an introductory 101 type course that is not part of the apprentice curriculum, but is designed to introduce you to the basics. Some guys do go on to become apprentices after taking it and deciding that they enjoy it.

We all beatch about not being able to find good help, but when someone comes along who seems to have a head on his shoulders, and isn't just a cheapskate looking for free plumbing advice so he can avoid paying one of us, still he gets schit on. And still he comes back and tells us how much he respects us. One of the things that I do not like about the trades is the lack of comradery. Some guys will offer it only if you suffer as they did, walking uphill both ways to school barefoot in the snow every day. I don't begrudge anyone simply because they had it easier than I, and I don't care if they have to jump through any arbitrary hoops that I decide. I judge them by their work ethic, intelligence and character.

I do think that you are being a little unrealistic about hoping to go into this part time, but stranger things have happened. There is such a shortage of plumbers that if you ask around enough you might find someone willing to hire you, esp with your background and having shown that you have what it takes to do a job like you do now. I see 20 kids come through my shop for every 1 that works out. The ratio of "older" guys who have been out in the workforce and know how the world works, who work out here is much less. I would choose one of them part time over a full time starbucks dropout any day. I'm guessing that you learned to fly in the service. Some guys will hire you based almost on that alone. Good luck.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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Hey, thanks for keeping me around. So what I’m starting to realize is that this won’t work for me the way I planned. It’s not like I’m old, but maybe I’m too far in my career to really go back and reinvent myself. I love flying and oftentimes cannot picture myself not doing it.

I like the idea of helping my friend out when I’m home. If anything it’ll get me out of the house and pick up some new skills.

If anyone in Central or North NJ needs someone to tag along as a helper, or could show me a “day in the life”, let me know. At least you know I’m dependable and would show up on time! I fly out of Newark if anyone’s around there. Thanks again everyone!

I dont know if anyone would actually let you tag along on a job unless you are willing just to work for free
and be a runner for them and helper..... Maybe they might even let you work a shovel or jackhammer....
Now that might get you to wake up and smell the coffee...

check this guy out..........


 

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Tough crowd here lol, but I appreciate your honesty. I just mentioned I do some of the work when I can and feel I can get the hang of it. Isn’t that the point of apprenticeship to learn? At least that’s the mentor ship works in flying. Still there is tons of things in the plumbing world I don’t know about.

Btw, you guys really impress me with the work you do. I love seeing someone practice their craft that they learned through the years. Thanks for the post.
Double what MasterMark posted, But I might add get yourself a copy of the Local Plumbing Code read it and Study
like you are Learning a new Aircraft !
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
@goeswiththeflow

Thanks for the advice. Very cool how you switched careers at 50 and are loving what you're doing. I fly with some people who worked in other fields before becoming pilots. There's no point doing something you hate and making everyone else around you miserable. I hear you on the stewardess part lol.

Thankfully I am enjoying my career and I agree, it would be nuts for me to leave for good. Since it could take years for me to get licensed and own a business making similar money to what I'm doing now, the ROI may not be there. So the only way for me to make both "work" would be to just help out somewhere when I can. And like you said, it wouldn't be right to not give it my all or treat it as a hobby.

Definitely giving me lots to think about. I appreciate the kind words. And it's true I really do respect you guys and love seeing you work. Lots for me to learn on this forum seeing various posts and projects going on.

(y)
 

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Apparently you didn't suck all that bad.
I really did. Try balancing a bowling ball on a needle! The pilot wasn’t too happy when flagged some fishing boats with the 20mm though. Really enlisted should spend some time in the air. Pilots talk about gremlins but we don’t see them when we attach a power plant.
 

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Double what MasterMark posted, But I might add get yourself a copy of the Local Plumbing Code read it and Study
like you are Learning a new Aircraft !
That’s not a bad idea, like reading a Pub. Only thing is with a code book, or at least the one I have it can seem like a different language. You know how we are. Ten terms for one fixture.
 

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I really did. Try balancing a bowling ball on a needle! The pilot wasn’t too happy when flagged some fishing boats with the 20mm though. Really enlisted should spend some time in the air. Pilots talk about gremlins but we don’t see them when we attach a power plant.
My point was that you are still here to talk about it, so from that respect you didn't suck as much as you could have.
 

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........Ten terms for one fixture.
I disagree.

A Hosebibb, Hose Spigot, Boiler Drain, Lawn Faucet, Wall Hydrant, all VERY different ;)
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
Nice Head, what’s in the bag?
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Now that my kid is helping me and learning the trade, he giggles every time I have to explain a street fitting or a ball cock. I just tell him that’s how we keep interested in the trade. We can use sex terms without being a pervert.
My mother was telling me about this (stupid)”clock museum”.. I told her it’s a waste of time..
 

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My mother was telling me about this (stupid)”clock museum”.. I told her it’s a waste of time..
Don’t think you were around when I told this story. When I was in my second week of training, my trainer, CA mind you, let me take the lead changing out a fill valve for an 80+y/o lady. I slipped and said she needed a new cock and ball. He turned and ran, she didn’t get it thankfully!
 

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Number pilot guy, I would really take the advice in this thread. Talk to your buddy, start learning on your time off! It will only help you in life. If you become an apprentice you’re welcome here. Give us updates, nothing wrong with being a guy who’s a gofer! That’s how you learn. You can’t do a remod or plumb a house in a week.

Keep your flying gig, but learn. Plumbing is very rough on your body!
 
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