Plumber

Alternative titles for this job include

Plumbers install and repair water and heating systems in residential households and commercial properties.

Average salary (a year)

£21,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays as customers demand

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Plumber

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

You could complete a college course which may help you to find a trainee position with a plumbing company. 

Courses include:

  • plumbing studies
  • plumbing and domestic heating
  • T Level in Building Services Engineering for Construction

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

More Information

Apprenticeship

You can apply to do a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship to learn the skills needed to become a plumber. Apprenticeships include:

  • Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician
  • Building Services Engineering
  • Gas Engineering Operative

You could also do a Low Carbon Heating Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, if you want to become a heat pump engineer.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You may be able to start as a plumber's assistant or 'mate' and train on the job to qualify.

You'll usually need some GCSEs, including English and maths, along with good practical skills.

Direct Application

You could apply directly for jobs if you've got qualifications and several years' experience from related industries, like building services or heating and ventilation engineering.

More Information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering for professional development training and industry news.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a plumber from the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and Go Construct.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a plumber, you'll:

  • install and repair water, heating and drainage systems
  • cut, shape and join pipes and fittings
  • service gas and oil-fired central heating systems and radiators
  • respond to emergency call-outs, like broken boilers or blocked drains
  • fit weather-proof materials and flashings to roofs, chimneys and walls

Possible green job

This job could help the environment.

For a plumber to be a green job, you could:

  • install solar powered hot water systems
  • replace old copper piping and joints with recyclable components
  • fit heat pumps in households to reduce reliance on fossil fuels

Find out more about green careers

Working environment

You could work at a client's home, at a client's business or on a construction site.

Your working environment may be cramped, at height and outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could:

  • do further training to become a heat pump engineer
  • work with ventilation and air-conditioning systems, or renewable energy technologies like solar powered heating
  • get certified with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC)
  • become a master plumber or move into building services engineering
  • teach and assess trainee plumbers in a further education (FE) college or training centre.

Find out more about working in FE from Teach in further education.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Plumbing & Domestic Heating Technician Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,312 a year Annually
  • Location: Weymouth

Mechanical (Plumbing) Apprentice

  • Wage: £20,000 a year Annually
  • Location: Fairview Construction Site, Brentford

Courses In England

Plumbing

  • Provider: HULL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 03 September 2024
  • Location: Hull

L1 Plumbing

  • Provider: SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE AND STROUD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Filton

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