Try this word association test; what’s the first picture that comes to mind when you read these words: Doctor…. Lawyer… School Teacher… now Plumber?
So when you read the word Plumber, how many of you had this picture just pop into you mind? Come on, be truthful. Here’s a hard working guy doing his best to stop the flood in your kitchen, working really hard to do his job, and just because his t-shirt is just a bit short, the whole profession gets labeled with this mental image. Why do plumbers “get no respect?”
But seriously, there are more things in common with the professions listed above than you may realize. For instance, did you know that to work in Texas, just like the other professions, plumbers have to be licensed by the State? That’s right, even a helper has to have a license to work in the plumbing industry. Texas issues 4 different licenses in the plumbing profession.
The first license is the Apprentice license. There are no requirements other than you must be at least 16 years of age, sponsored by an employer and pay the license fee to be ready to go to work with a Texas plumbing company. It all starts here, the ground floor of plumbing.
The second license is a Tradesman license. A Tradesman can be the lead plumber on residential applications only. He must have at least 4,000 hours (approx. 2 years) on the job training, complete at least 24 hours approved classroom training and pass a license exam.
The third license is the Journeyman license. A Journeyman must be at least 18 year old, have completed at least 8,000 hours (approx. 4 years) on the job, complete at least 48 hours approved classroom training and pass a license exam. A Journeyman is licensed to be the lead plumber on any job, residential or commercial. Beginning at this level, a high school diploma or a GED is required.
And the fourth license is the Master Plumber’s license. At this level, the requirements and testing are through and intense. You must be a licensed Journeyman for typically 4 years before testing for a Master license. That works out to about 16,000 hours (approx. 8 years) on the job training.
Your Plumber does not have thousands of dollars of debt due to student loans nor did he spend years in a classroom listening to lectures to become a plumber. Instead, he earned his degree on the job in real time. His education is in the real world. So the next time you pick up the phone due to a plumbing emergency, know that the professional who shows up at your home or business is 100% qualified for the task at hand. And we beg your pardon in advance for any unintentional wardrobe malfunctions.
For you youngsters out there, Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian best known for his line, “I don’t get no respect. No respect at all.”