Plumber apprenticeship

Description of an apprenticeship as a Plumber

Table of Contents

Plumber apprenticeship

DOT code: 862.381-030, AIMS code: 0432

Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook for a detailed description of this trade. Type the trade name in the search box and hit enter.


Assembles, installs, and repairs pipes, fittings, and fixtures of heating, water, and drainage systems, according to specifications and plumbing codes: Studies building plans and working drawings to determine work aids required and sequence of installations. Inspects structure to ascertain obstructions to be avoided to prevent weakening of structure resulting from installation of pipe. Locates and marks position of pipe and pipe connections and passage holes for pipes in walls and floors, using ruler, spirit level, and plumb bob. Cuts openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings, using handtools and power tools. Cuts and threads pipe, using pipe cutters, cutting torch, and pipe‑threading machine. Bends pipe to required angle by use of pipe‑bending machine or by placing pipe over block and bending it by hand. Assembles and installs valves, pipe fittings, and pipes composed of metals, such as iron, steel, brass, and lead, and nonmetals, such as glass, vitrified clay, and plastic, using handtools and power tools. Joins pipes by use of screws, bolts, fittings, solder, plastic solvent, and caulks joints. Fills pipe system with water or air and reads pressure gauges to determine whether system is leaking. Installs and repairs plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, commodes, bathtubs, water heaters, hot water tanks, garbage disposal units, dishwashers, and water softeners. Repairs and maintains plumbing by replacing washers in leaky faucets, mending burst pipes, and opening clogged drains. May weld holding fixtures to steel structural members.

Work process schedule

Task Hours
A. General trade orientation 250
B. General pipe fitting practice 2000
C. Service installation 2000
D. Fixture installation 1250
E. Maintenance and repair 2000
F. Miscellaneous 500
(Every 2,000 hours = one year) total hours: 8000

Related technical instruction

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires 150 hours each year of related technical instruction which must be mastered by the apprentice in order to successfully complete the program. The following is a general listing of instruction topics for this trade. To download a complete description of this trade click on the work process folder shown above. For further information, please call the Division of Apprentice Standards at (617) 626-5409.

Practical arithmetic
Basic algebra
Plane geometry

Trade drawings and technical documentation
Blueprint reading
Elementary architectural drawing
Drawing and sketching
Specification writing

Related trade courses
Types of pipes and fittings
Hot water heating piping systems
Sewage systems
Plumbing and pipe fitting tools
Pipe fitting practice
Welding practice
Clay, iron, and vet systems
Occupational Safety and Health Act
Sanitary plumbing fixtures
Installation of gas appliances and piping

Additional Resources