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January 17, 2021


The Best Plumbing Schools to Learn the Plumbing Trade

Prospective plumbers should augment on-the-job training with some good old fashioned classroom learning. Here are the best places to do it.

Although it may seem like a trade you can learn solely through on-the-job training, plumbing requires a set of technical and problem-solving skills best honed with a more formal education. For example, plumbers need to know how to do a variety of mathematical calculations to ensure the proper design of pipe systems and to properly draft blueprints. They also need to understand how to work with potentially dangerous materials like oxygen and natural gas, which are also transported by the pipes they design, build, and repair. 

In short, becoming a plumber in the 21st century involves far more than unclogging a home drain (even though this remains a highly valued service). With plumbing structures firmly embedded in our modern way of life, the plumbing industry can offer a stable career with good pay. Attending one of the best plumbing schools in the country can firmly plant you on the path to success. We’ve listed the best of these schools below.

Northern Maine Community College (ME)

You’re guaranteed plenty of instructor oversight and assistance at Northern Maine Community College, an institution that features a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. Small class sizes, affordable tuition, and a diverse curriculum that teaches not only plumbing, but also heating and refrigeration make this a robust education option for eager students. You’ll be able to sit for your Maine Journeyman-in-Training license as a student of this program, and understanding the Maine plumbing code remains a priority of the course.

Arizona Western College (AZ)

Arizona Western College has a larger overall student body than many of the other schools on this list, but tuition remains affordable despite the wide range of educational opportunities in the Construction and Technology program. Students enrolled in the plumbing course have access to many other skills classes for cross-training, including HVAC, electrical, drafting, and welding. Students can earn Occupational Certificates or Associate in Applied Science degrees. 

Montana State University – Northern (MT)

Montana State University – Northern boasts a small student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, and this means your plumbing instructors can also serve as your mentors in a personalized capacity. You’ll earn an Associate of Applied Science degree after completing the academic coursework and hands-on training designed to prepare you to enter the modern plumbing industry. With a focus on teaching up-to-date technology and techniques, Montana State University – Northern’s plumbing alumni can step into the industry as leaders and innovators.

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (KY)

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s apprenticeship studies program allows you to create a unique apprenticeship and educational experience. A variety of skill trades are available, including plumbing, and you need to complete some basic education courses as well, over 20 of which are available online. This school also offers Continuing Education Courses to Journeyman Plumbers and Master Plumbers in the area, positioning it as a valuable resource after you officially obtain your state Journeyman’s license.

Saint Paul College (MN)

Saint Paul College boasts a state-of-the-art plumbing laboratory for hands-on learning in a safe and supervised environment. This school’s plumbing program places an emphasis on teaching plumbing techniques applicable to industrial, commercial, and residential sites, preparing students for a variety of opportunities in the field. Students also learn how to properly use tools and read blueprints, as well as how to follow the state’s plumbing code at all times. You’ll graduate from this program with a Plumbing Diploma after approximately two years and be prepared for the five year apprenticeship required for sitting the Minnesota Journeyman Plumber’s exam.

Salt Lake Community College (UT)

Students enrolled in the apprenticeship program at Salt Lake Community College receive a substantial tuition discount: 50% off. But apprenticeship students shouldn’t expect to receive a break in the rigors of course work! In fact, this school expects students to already have employment in the plumbing field or to find such employment within their first year of study. Working and going to school can prove challenging, but those who can balance both will find doing so useful preparation for the plumbing industry as a whole.

Macomb Community College (MI)

Macomb Community College’s South Campus offers an apprenticeship program that teaches the technical aspects of the plumbing industry, such as managing pressure, drawing up templates, and properly fitting pipes. This school recommends you enter an employee-sponsored apprenticeship while completing your formal coursework, but you can take advantage of their career services at any time for help with job hunting.

The best plumbing school may be close to home.

Although we have provided you a list of some of the best plumbing schools in the country, you should also choose to explore options closer to home. Most technical schools or community colleges offer apprenticeship programs in popular trades like plumbing. The quality of the course really depends on the passion and experience of the people teaching it. Your best plumbing education may be closer to you than you think.