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While we usually prefer to let our work do the talking, we want to give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a plumber. Our job is rewarding but challenging, and although people generally seem to understand what we do, we find that there are certain misconceptions, especially when it comes to plumbing as a career.

Everyone appreciates our work, but sometimes people assume that it’s all just manual labor. In fact, plumbing in Los Angeles is a complex job. Because our city is so big, with so many different types of residential and commercial properties, plumbers have to be extremely versatile. Of course, we can’t all be the best plumber Los Angeles has to offer, but if you’re interested in learning the trade, know that the physical demands are sometimes just as intense as the mental ones. But if you can rise to the top of the industry, expect to make a six figure salary.

As you start to pursue your career, here are some things to keep in mind.

Apprenticeship

When you start down a plumber’s path, you may be faced with an unusual irony. No one will hire you without proper experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. So where do you start? The most common path for newbies is to pursue a plumbing apprenticeship. An apprentice’s job is pretty much what you might expect. He assists the master plumber on a particular work site, who supervises, advises, and mentors him. It’s a great way to learn on the job and build your resume so that you can perhaps run your own business some day.

More than just physical labor

Before you pursue an apprenticeship, ask yourself if you have the required skills to succeed. Obviously, the job is physically challenging. You have to carry heavy loads, lift and support objects (sometimes for long periods of time), and be able to squeeze into small spaces. Additionally, you’ll most likely be working on your back part of the time, so you should be in decent shape.

But the demands don’t stop there. For example, your math skills should be sharp. Sometimes you have to juggle multiple sets of numbers, whether it’s for calculating an estimate or determining measurements. Likewise, being a natural handy man is always useful. You don’t need to be a DIY pro necessarily, but knowing your way around a tool kit will certainly help.

The next steps

If you’re still interested in a plumbing career, joining a plumber’s union will bring you one step closer to that apprenticeship. Luckily unions aren’t too hard to come by, especially in Southern California, and most of them feature programs that assign a newbie to a master plumber. But you have to pass the required tests first. Simply joining a union isn’t enough. The competition in the field is surprisingly tough, so you’ll need your wits, grit, and skill to succeed. But once you go all the way, it can be a profitable and rewarding career for the right person.

 

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