A job in plumbing is a lucrative career in Australia. As a licensed plumber, you can earn as high as $85,410 per year. Even apprentice plumbers can earn in the tune of $23, 018 – $54,852 per year.
Becoming a plumber isn’t a simple task. You’ll need to fulfil various mandatory steps in order to become a licensed professional. But before you understand the step-by-step process of specializing as a plumber, remember to purchase Public Liability Insurance.
As with any business, plumbing can pose certain risks. You may accidentally break a pipe or cause a crack in the sink while working. The disgruntled client may sue you at court, on grounds of negligence. Or, seeping water during work might become a slipping hazard, injuring clients and leading to more lawsuits.
These legal claims can be very expensive and, in some cases, can bankrupt start-ups as well. Public Liability Insurance can indemnify you and safeguard your business. Check this article to learn how to get the best Public Liability Insurance.
Now, let’s look at how you can become a plumber in Australia.
Do you need to study to be a plumber?
To become a plumber in Australia, you need to complete certain certifications. These certifications include both theoretical exams and practical experience. But the exact curriculum you study to become a plumber depends on the type of plumber you wish to be.
There are two categories of plumber in Australia – registered plumbers and licensed plumbers. A registered plumber is an individual who completes his/her apprenticeship and basic certification. You will be allowed to work in certain types of plumbing jobs but not all.
A licensed plumber, on the other hand, you will need to complete higher certification and a more stringent examination. You can take up all types of plumbing jobs as a licensed plumber.
Apprenticeship & certification requirements to become a registered plumber
To become a registered plumber, you will need to complete a 4-year apprenticeship under a licensed plumber in the country. Your local Apprenticeship Network provider will be able to help you find the ideal employer.
While you are working as an apprentice, you will need to complete the Certificate III in Plumbing (CPC32413) course, which is the certification you need to obtain to become a registered plumber.
This certification provides a broad knowledge about plumbing, providing training on subjects like plumbing standards, installation of sanitation systems, levelling etc. This is a 3-year certification, with an additional year provided to mechanical plumbers. For the most part, you will be working with your employer but you will be eligible for block releases, when you’ll visit your university to study and give your examination. Your work on-the-job will also be assessed, in order to grant you the certification.
Becoming a licensed plumber in Australia
To be licensed as a plumber, you should complete the Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (CPC40912). This course provides in-depth technical competencies that build on what you’ve learnt in the Certification III. Here, you can choose the elective you want to study, such as fire protection, roofing, irrigation, gas-fitting work, backflow prevention, and the like. In addition to your written examination, your on-site work experience will also be taken into consideration to award you the license.
If you wish to specialize in more than one type of plumbing, you can contact your respective state licensing body to get a separate accreditation for each specialization. For example, Victoria’s Plumbing Regulations 2008 offer 8 major specializations and 6 additional specializations that registered plumbers can seek licensing in.
Getting a White Card
In Australia, a White Card (or General Construction Induction Card) is a mandatory federal requirement for any professional working on construction projects. This includes plumbers in construction.
Anyone with or without experience can complete the White Card training and get the card. You can apply for the White Card before you start your apprenticeship as a registered plumber as well.
This training teaches you how to identify safety hazards at the worksite, the measures to adopt to reduce risk to yourself and your colleagues, how to report the hazard and how to respond to on-site injuries.
You will be awarded the Statement of Training after completing the course and you can work on any construction site in Australia after this.
Professional upskilling for senior plumbers
If you’re a licensed plumber with years of experience, you can pursue the Diploma of Plumbing and Services (CPC50408) course to get the advanced knowledge and technical expertise you need to pursue senior plumbing roles or management roles in plumbing organizations.
Plumbers interested in taking up the Diploma must have completed the General Induction to the National Code of Practice for Induction Training for Construction Work (ASCC 2007) and obtained the White Card.
Please note, this Diploma has no bearing on your licensing status, but is only a value-add course to improve your professional opportunities.
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