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How to Become a Plumber in Illinois

How to Become a Plumber in Illinois: A Comprehensive Guide

If you have a knack for fixing things and enjoy working with your hands, a career as a plumber might be the perfect fit for you. In Illinois, becoming a licensed plumber requires a specific set of skills, qualifications, and certifications. This article will outline the necessary steps to pursue a career in plumbing in Illinois, along with a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section at the end to address common queries.

Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma or GED
To lay the foundation for a career in plumbing, it is essential to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Basic knowledge in subjects like math, science, and technical drawing can greatly benefit aspiring plumbers.

Step 2: Complete a Plumbing Apprenticeship
One of the most common paths to becoming a plumber in Illinois is through an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, allowing individuals to learn the trade under the guidance of experienced plumbers. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) offers resources to help find registered apprenticeships in the state.

Step 3: Fulfill Plumbing Training Requirements
As part of the apprenticeship program, aspiring plumbers must complete the required number of training hours. In Illinois, this typically amounts to approximately 8,000 hours of combined on-the-job and classroom training over a span of four to five years. The apprenticeship program covers various aspects of plumbing, including blueprint reading, pipefitting, and safety procedures.

Step 4: Pass the Plumbing License Exam
Once the apprenticeship is successfully completed, individuals are eligible to take the plumbing license exam in Illinois. The exam consists of both written and practical sections, evaluating the applicant’s knowledge of plumbing codes, regulations, and practical skills. It is crucial to thoroughly study and prepare for this exam, as passing it is a prerequisite for becoming a licensed plumber.

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Step 5: Apply for a Plumbing License
After passing the plumbing license exam, aspiring plumbers must apply for their license through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The application process includes submitting the required documentation, such as proof of completed apprenticeship, exam results, and any additional certifications or qualifications. It is advisable to carefully follow the instructions provided by the IDPH to ensure a smooth application process.


Q1: How long does it take to become a licensed plumber in Illinois?
A: The duration of becoming a licensed plumber in Illinois varies depending on the individual’s dedication and the type of training program chosen. On average, it takes around four to five years to complete an apprenticeship and fulfill the necessary training requirements.

Q2: Are there any age restrictions to become a plumber in Illinois?
A: In Illinois, there are no specific age restrictions for becoming a plumber. However, most apprenticeship programs require individuals to be at least 18 years old due to the physical demands and safety considerations associated with the trade.

Q3: Can I become a plumber without completing an apprenticeship?
A: While completing an apprenticeship is the most common route to becoming a licensed plumber, there are alternative paths available. Some trade schools and community colleges offer plumbing programs that provide the required training hours. However, it is important to note that these programs may have different eligibility criteria and may not be recognized by all licensing authorities.

Q4: How much can I expect to earn as a plumber in Illinois?
A: The salary of a plumber in Illinois can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and specialization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for plumbers in Illinois was $64,480 in May 2020.

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Q5: What are the career prospects for plumbers in Illinois?
A: The demand for skilled plumbers in Illinois is expected to remain steady in the coming years. Plumbers can find employment opportunities in various sectors, including residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Additionally, some plumbers choose to start their own businesses and work independently.

In conclusion, pursuing a career as a plumber in Illinois requires dedication, commitment, and the completion of specific requirements. By following the outlined steps, individuals can embark on a rewarding journey in the plumbing industry, serving the needs of communities and ensuring the proper functioning of vital infrastructure.

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