A plumbing career can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have running water! And with a continued shortage of workers in the skilled trades across Canada, prospective plumbers could be well-positioned for steady work and a good salary. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.
The most recent job outlook published by the Ontario government predicted good prospects for trained plumbers. That’s good news, considering global economic instability and unemployment in Ontario at nearly 8 percent in December. For young people, that figure tends to be even higher.
Demand for plumbers is more solid than other trades linked to construction because there’s always a need for people with the know-how to maintain the existing network of pipes. That means you’re less vulnerable to economic downturns.
Work Hours Varied
The 2009 Employment Ontario report showed that most plumbers have a standard 40-hour work week. But that refers mostly to those working on the construction of new buildings, whose livelihoods may depend on the ups and downs of the real estate market.
A more varied schedule sometimes awaits those workers who choose the path of maintenance and contract work. If you go this route, you may find yourself doing weekend and evening shifts. And those plumbers who show up to fix your overflowing toilet or storm pipe in a time of need may find themselves working whenever and wherever disaster strikes!
The Money Will Flow
The average full-time plumber in Ontario was earning nearly $50,000 annually in 2005, according to Employment Ontario. It’s a decent salary, although a few thousand shy of the province-wide average of $56,000.
But how much a plumber brings home varies widely. If you have an entrepreneurial streak, consider going into business for yourself. One industry veteran noted recently on this Reddit thread that after 23 years in the trade, he has a staff of 17 people, over 3.5 million dollars in assets, and a salary of $180,000 annually.
Get The Skills To Pay The Bills
Choosing a career as a journeyman plumber means getting the right education. Ontario plumbers require a Certificate of Qualification, which they earn through a five-year apprenticeship. This mostly involves on-the-job training, along with about 720 hours of school.
This means you can often earn enough to pay for your studies and living expenses instead of taking out a student loan.
New technologies mean plumbers are increasingly expected to have computer literacy skills and book-smarts. But keep in mind this job requires a certain toughness: you’ll sometimes be fitting pipes or soldering metal in awkward physical positions for long periods of time.
There are also certain health risks, as detailed on this federal government list: you may be exposed to biohazards like raw sewage, or harmful materials like asbestos. Always stay safe.
Stick With The Pros
One of the best ways to get into the business is to start with well-established plumbing companies. Hy-Pro Plumbing operates across Southern Ontario, providing solid residential and commercial services.