Pennsylvania does not have a statewide licensing scheme for plumbers or plumbing contractors. However, each Pennsylvania city or county has a building department that may have special requirements. Some city ordinances require a license for work as an independent plumber. Because such a license often requires a plumbing exam, it is important for entrepreneurial plumbers to start getting as much education and experience as possible to get ready for potential local license requirements.
The first thing you want to do is check with local building departments. Although PA plumbers and plumbing contractors do not need a state license, this actually makes it more complicated because each city can have its own rules for the issuance of plumbing licenses in Pennsylvania.
For example, Philadelphia, which has an array of hospitality jobs and another industry-related job, requires an exam and references to get licensed as a journeyman or master plumber. The application requires two references from master plumbers. What this means is that plumbers with a license in Philadelphia have generally worked their way up by getting employed by local licensed plumbers. The plumbing industry works like many other construction industries in that apprenticeship positions are very common. Hands-on experience is vital to learning the business of plumbing.
Take steps necessary to get work as a plumbing employee in Pennsylvania. There are trade schools you can go to to learn the basics of plumbing. You can go to the Plumbing Agent website to find various PA plumber training programs at community colleges and technical schools. Many programs are available at night so you can study in your spare time.
If you attend any Pennsylvania plumbing schools, make sure you save all books and other reference materials. You may need these to study for local PA plumbing exams.
After you have your basic training, then you can seek work with local plumbers, including maintenance plumbers and plumbing contractors. You should try to get work on a various number of projects, as the business of plumbing contracting may have additional local requirements.
Keep in mind that you are there to learn once you do find a plumbing job. You are not there just to earn a paycheck. You may also need references (just like the city of Philadelphia requires of its licensed plumbers), so you want to do a good job once you get hired for plumbing jobs.
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