If you are considering a career in plumbing, but you want an alternative to the two-year vocational/technical school education, alternatives do exist. One alternative typically pays less because you are not employed as a fully licensed plumber. The other pays more because you are working in a dual-employment job.
Alternative No. 1: The Plumber's Assistant
Usually, plumbing contractors will hire plumbing students for this job. However, you can also apply and interview for a plumbing assistant job without any training or skills whatsoever. If you hope to get employment as a plumber's assistant without some education in plumbing, you will probably have better luck working for a plumbing contractor that needs several plumbing assistants right away to fulfill his or her contractual obligations. Just be aware that if you are not a plumbing student, your salary will be less than a plumbing student's until you have attained more on-the-job training.
Alternative No. 2: Military Service and Plumber's Training
The United States military recruits many men and women not only for military service, but also for specified technical and vocational training. You earn your base rate pay in the navy, army, airforce, marines, or reserves, plus an additional amount once you have completed your accelerated training and education in plumbing. It is the better option for people who cannot afford to go to school full-time and need a regular and predictable salary while they train for a secondary career.
If you choose to enlist with the reserves, your training as a plumber will take a lot longer because you are only actively participating in it once a month. If you sign up for a complete tour of at least two years, you promise to serve your branch while they train you to be a plumber. You could also serve two to five years and have the military pay for your college education and your degree after you complete your military service. When you attempt both military service and plumbing training at the same time, though, you serve in a dual-employment role and have the ability to make more money than most plumbing contractors usually make in a year.
Choosing a Level of Commitment
If you still are not sure that you want to pursue a career in plumbing, then you can get your feet wet in the role of plumber's assistant. The commitment is minimal because you may only serve as an assistant to a contractor for the length of time it takes to complete a contract. (To get in touch with a plumbing contractor, contact a business such as Trenchless Pipe Technologies.) You can also quit your job as a plumbing assistant if you decide it is not your tub of joyful bubbles. You cannot quit or withdraw if you choose to commit to military service and plumbing training. The only thing you can do then is change what type of training you would prefer to learn while you fulfill your military obligations.