Job Description for a Plumber Apprentice

A plumber's apprentice assists journeyman plumbers in the installation of residential and/or commercial plumbing systems with the intent of becoming a licensed journeyman plumber. Apprentice plumbers are often responsible for unclogging drains, including faucet, commode and urinal drains. These apprentices might also be required to repair and replace basic plumbing hardware such as toilet seats and floor drains that are usually located in communal showers.

Education and Training

The majority of plumbing apprenticeships require at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many plumbers receive their plumbing training through apprenticeship training programs at vocational, technical and community colleges, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, there are still apprentice plumbers who enter into apprenticeships with private plumbing companies.


Apprentice plumbers are required to have both excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the skill of listening and following both simple and complex instructions. Many apprenticeships may require some degree of plumbing experience. This may include knowledge of pipefitting and plumbing tools such as jackhammers, welders, cutting torches and pipe locaters.

Work Environment

Plumbers generally work a standard 40-hour workweek. They often have to work in tight and unsanitary underground locations such as basements and crawlspaces. Working in these environments requires frequent and repetitive crawling, climbing, and lifting plumbing installation equipment and tools in and out of these spaces. Plumbing apprentices are also responsible for digging ditches for new underground-pipe installation. The work of a plumbing apprentice is labour-intensive and strenuous.


According to, apprentice plumbers earn anywhere between £7 and £11 per hour. This is largely based on an apprentice plumber's experience, the size of the plumbing company, and the type of plumbing installation and repair the company does.

Job Growth

Plumbing jobs are expected to grow by 16 per cent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a considerably large growth in comparison to the handbook-wide average of 7 to 13 per cent for the majority of occupations surveyed.

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About the Author

Ezekiel James began as a music writer in 2003. Since then, James has served as a writer for several music, technology and design publications. His work has been published on eHow, and in print for the "The Potrero View" and "Punk Planet." James is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Portland State University.