Skilled Trade


 Average Hourly Wage


What You Need

  • 18 years old
  • Highschool Diploma or GED
  • 144 to 216 classroom hours per year
  • 8,000 to 9,500 on-the-job training hours

Job description

Plumbers assemble, install, and repair pipes, fittings, medical gas systems, and fixtures of heating, water, and drainage systems, such as sinks, commodes, bathtubs, water heaters, hot water tanks, garbage disposal units, dishwashers, and water according to specifications and plumbing codes. They locate and mark the position of pipe, pipe connections, and passage holes for pipes in walls and floors using ruler, spirit level, and plumb bob. They cut openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings, using hand tools and a threading machine. Plumbers also bend pipe using a pipe-bending machine or by placing pipe over a block and bending it by hand; assemble and install valves, pipe fittings, and pipes composed of various metals or glass, vitrified clay, and plastic; and use hand tools and power tools. Plumbers may weld holding fixtures to structures.

Working conditions

The work is done indoors and outdoors, in existing and newly constructed buildings, in all kinds of weather, and around noise, dirt, and mud. Plumbers often work in cramped areas and in awkward positions.

Length of apprenticeship

This apprenticeship lasts four to five years. Apprentices must complete a minimum of 144 to 216 hours per year of related training and at least 8,000 to 9,500 hours of on-the-job training. Journey worker plumbers are required to hold a license. Upon completion of the program, apprentices are referred to the Oregon Building Codes Division for the licensing exam.

Minimum qualifications

Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, they must provide proof of high school graduation or general education development (GED) equivalent. Local apprenticeship committees may require additional qualifications.


Beginning apprentices start at 50 percent of the journey-level wage. Upon successful completion of required class work and on-the-job hours, wages increase usually every six months, until the journey-level rate is achieved.

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