Plumbing is something that I’m very passionate about. If you’ve listened to my podcast or read previous blog posts, you know that I grew up in the plumbing industry. I didn’t really choose plumbing—it chose me. As a young person in high school, you’re probably investigating what you want to do in the future. You might be looking into college and/or choosing a path that suits your interests.
I want to take the time in this blog post to talk about the options you have available to you. There’s a myth that trades in general like plumbing, electrical, HVAC (heating and air conditioning), roofing, carpentry, etc. are a dumb person’s career. That’s simply not true. I can speak personally about plumbing, electrical, and HVAC—there’s a great living to make, and it’s extremely rewarding.
In terms of money, there are people in the trades right now that are making much more than someone who got a college degree. Of course, they have to be good at what they do. This job isn’t exactly easy, but what job really is (especially if it has a high monetary value)? There’s a large amount of responsibility, experience, and skill that’s required in order to truly excel.
When it comes to plumbing, there are actually two types of plumbers: installers (production plumbers) and technicians. An installer is someone that is in the new construction industry. They just install new plumbing. There can be a glass ceiling for installers. Technicians are plumbers who have two skill sets. They have the technical ability of an installer, but they also have a strong ability to communicate. Technicians need the soft skills to work with people along with technical skills.
A technician is definitely a professional career. It can be very rewarding to help people with their problems. From a monetary perspective, it would also be a great way for you to provide for your family.
How to Get Started
I encourage most young people (especially at a high school age) to look into the trades. It’s best to find someone knowledgeable about this industry. Don’t ask someone who’s either not in the trades or knows nothing about them. If you do, you might come across that prevalent myth and be misled. Instead, ask a vocational schoolteacher or business owner who’s successful in plumbing, electrical, or HVAC. They are the most qualified person to steer you in the right direction.
If you do decide that a trade is right for you, start early. It’s much harder to learn about your desired trade when you’re also trying to work a full time 40-50 hour job. Don’t wait until you’re working somewhere else to try and get started. There are things you can do at the high school level to pick up your trade. For example, it could be vocational school or online resources.
Don’t forget about the soft skills like communication and sales if you’re choosing a technician career. They matter, especially when it comes to being successful at working with others.
Most importantly, I highly encourage young people to stay out of trouble. It’s extremely hard when a 30-year-old realizes that their bad driving record (or even worse, criminal record) is preventing them from obtaining the career they want. Sometimes young people don’t even think about this. However, in my business, I will not hire someone that has anything on their background or driving record.
If you’re a young person looking into the plumbing industry, take a look around this website and listen to our podcast. You can also or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.