Featured image for 'Where could a career in the plumbing and heating industry take you?' article shows person measuring copper pipe tubing

There is a long list of reasons why becoming a plumber is such an appealing career choice. Whether it’s a strong sense of job security, a high level of job satisfaction, good earning potential or an array of career progression opportunities, the life of a plumber can be incredibly rewarding. 

What qualifications does a plumber need?

If you’re just starting out in your journey towards becoming a qualified plumber, then the City & Guilds Level 2 Plumbing Course is a great first step. Throughout the programme you’ll develop a strong base knowledge of all modern domestic plumbing, getting your career off to the best possible start.

Once you’ve achieved your City & Guilds Level 2, you’ll be in a position to carry out a variety of domestic jobs. Beyond that, if you plan on seeking commercial work, you’ll have to pursue your NVQ Level 2 Qualification, which involves being assessed in your workplace environment and completing a portfolio. 

What type of work is available to plumbers? 

Once your training is completed, you’ll be ready to seek employment as a plumber. One of the most common routes for anyone entering the industry for the first time is working for an already-established employer. This is a great way to gain in-depth experience as you immerse yourself in the profession during the early stages of your career. 

There is also the option of working as a contractor. A contractor is someone who lends their expertise under a ‘contract for services’ and is generally more experienced than a regular plumber. Contractors are often expected to have a more well-rounded construction knowledge that stretches further than just plumbing. 

Further opportunities for plumbers

A third employment option is setting up your own business. This is, for many, one of the most attractive factors about a career in plumbing. It brings with it a whole host of benefits and being able to set your own rates and workloads can significantly increase your earning potential, while also giving you a much greater command over your own work-life balance. 

Given the overwhelming demand for plumbers right across the UK—with research finding that plumbers were actually the most in-demand trade throughout 2020—now could be the perfect time to take the plunge and capitalise on the influx of work opportunities. 

Gas Safe registration

Another certification that is worth pursuing once you’ve become a fully qualified plumber, is Gas Safe status. Given the nature of plumbing work, there is often a lot of crossover with gas appliances and supplies. Holding the required certification to be able to work with gas won’t just save you time through being able to complete these jobs yourself, it’ll also increase the scope of work you can take on, in turn boosting your earning potential. Able Skills offers a range of gas courses that will get you up to Gas Safe registration standard.

OFTEC registration

Registering with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) is also an option. OFTEC works closely with international standards organisations, training providers and certification bodies to recognise competent and qualified individuals and businesses. 

Registering with this regulatory body means you’ll be added to their database of competent engineers, which customers can use to check your credentials before carrying out work. It also means you’re able to self-certify your work, which again, increases the kind of tasks you’re able to undertake by yourself.

Pursue further studies

Using the expertise you’ve built through your career as a plumber, you could go on to study for a higher national diploma, or degree, and become an engineer. In doing so, you could open up further career paths in building services, engineering, estimating and contract management. 

Other potential career avenues

There are plenty of other paths a career in plumbing can take you down, whether it's working as a water regulations inspector, an expert witness for potentially unfit or unsafe work, technical representative or even going into teaching—the list goes on.

Ready to take your first step towards becoming a qualified plumber? All of our courses are designed and taught by experts who know exactly what is needed to get your career off to the best possible start. Give us a call on 01322 280 202, request a brochure or pop into our training centre for a chat.