Introducing a US Department of Labor Plumbing Registered Apprenticeship Program via a unique combination of self-paced, online, and hands-on components.
No College Debt.
THIS…is plumbing registered apprenticeship!
Don’t let any stereotypes fool you, plumbing is important! Think about your life without clean drinking water, effective waste disposal, or medical gases available in the hospital. You would be living in a third-world, poverty-stricken country, all because a single profession is missing—Plumbing! Yes, plumbing is a profession, with national standards, state licensing, and continually evolving technologies.
According to the Department of Labor, there are more than 6 million jobs available in the US. With high growth in the Texas economy, the shortage is profound, especially in the construction trades responsible for building our state and country. Social media, job listings, and discussions with business owners all confirm a single fact—Texas needs licensed plumbers and is willing to pay for them, now!
No College Debt
The number of young people attending 4 years of college, stacking up tens of thousands in debt (or more), then finding no job available to them is reaching epidemic proportions! With a plumbing apprenticeship, you earn while you learn. There is a cost, as there is with anything worth having, but our programs are structured to keep the cost as affordable as possible.
As a regulated profession, it normally takes a minimum of 4 years after high-school to become a Journeyman Plumber, then another 4 years to become a Master Plumber in Texas. However, participants in our Department of Labor Plumbing Registered Apprenticeship Program can shorten that cycle in several ways:
- Reduce the required experience for licensing by 1,000 hours
- Receive exemption from the usual 48 hours of required courses
- Reduce the period from Journeyman to Master by 3 years
- Reduce the apprenticeship program based on prior experience or training
Our program is approved by the US Department of Labor and completion earns a certificate issued by the Office of Apprenticeship–the gold standard in construction industry education. Our curriculum is published by the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER).
The US Department of Labor reports that 9 out of 10 Americans completing an apprenticeship program find a job immediately and the average starting salary is $60,000. Compare that to the odds facing America’s 13 million college students. If you want to aim even higher, a Master plumber in Texas can take an additional 3-day course and be ready to open their own company anywhere in the state.
How long does it take?
The Plumbing Registered Apprenticeship Program takes up to 4 years, with 144 hours of training each year and at least 6,375 hours of employment (on-the-job-learning). However, credit may be given for previous plumbing experience and/or plumbing training, reducing these requirements by up to 50%.
How much will I make?
The Department of Labor requires a plumbing apprentice to make at least 55% of what a journeyman plumber earns in your specific market, increasing to 85% by the end of the program. Local employers can pay more and usually do because of the high demand for plumbers. Your value can rise quickly with the added advantage of this formal plumbing education.
What is the program like?
Our program utilizes a unique hybrid model that includes self-study reading, online videos, hands on practice, and supervised experience to engage every possible learning style while incorporate flexibility and pursuing the end goal of competency in every topic (see program outline). The program components include:
- Reading each module at your own pace, on your own schedule, wherever you are
- Watching online video instruction to emphasize key concepts, answer questions, and apply the material to everyday practice
- Completing brief online quizzes covering the material of each module (retaken if necessary to ensure understanding)
- Having a licensed plumber sign off on hands-on tasks related to each module to demonstrate competency
- Continuing employer supervised experience throughout the program, documented quarterly
- Accessing WCE instructors if you experience any challenges with a topic (via email, calls, or live if necessary)
How much does it cost?
The cost of our program is $900 per year (across 4 years). Participants who have at least two years of broad experience may apply to begin in Year 3 (Level 3), in which case the cost is $1,000 annually over 2 years (we still provide the written materials from all 4 years/levels). An automated payment plan is available if necessary.
What if I already work in plumbing?
That’s great! If your employer agrees, we can evaluate your experience and grant credit for up to 50% of the program. In that case, you would begin in Level 3 (Year 3) rather than revisit material you already know and you are on the super fast-track to certification.
What if I don’t already work in plumbing?
Not to worry. That’s basically the point of an apprenticeship program. We will help match you with an employer in your area who wants to (or already does) participate in the program. In fact, you must become employed full-time in the plumbing industry to fully participate in the apprenticeship process. You may begin the training portion of the program without being employed, but the full benefit and credit doesn’t materialize until you are employed in the industry.
What if I am still in high-school?
Full apprenticeship registration requires you to be at least 16. However, younger high-school students can begin this journey as a pre-apprentice in two ways, both of which would allow us to grant advanced placement in the program upon graduation:
1. Put us in contact with your high-school if they might be willing to host a program.
2. Begin the training portion as a pre-apprentice without the employment requirement.
What if I don’t live in Texas?
Anyone can participate in our programs, but they must confirm reciprocity with our Texas program. We will soon be launching this model in other states, but that will likely come later in 2020.
Is the program recognized by Texas?
Our program is approved by the US Department of Labor, which is then automatically recognized by the State of Texas. This can be seen in the following Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiner’s rules:
- For exemption from the usual training requirements while enrolled in the program, see TSBPE Rule 363.5(e)(2) for the Journeyman Exam, 363.6(d)(2) for the Tradesman Exam.
- For reduction in the required hours of experience resulting from completion of the program, see Rule 363.4(a)(2)(B) for the Master exam, 363.5(c)(1) for the Journeyman exam, 363.6(b)(1) for the Tradesman exam.
The references above specifically include any plumbing program approved by the US Department of Labor. Our approval from the US Department of Labor is also on file with Executive Director of the TSBPE.
How do I get started?
Simply register at the bottom left of this page to access the application packet. No payment is due and this does NOT commit you to the program, it simply registers your interest and allows you to review the full program details. If you aren’t concerned about Department of Labor Registration and simply want to learn, you may register for any level of the program immediately. If you have general questions, email Apprenticeship@WinnsCE.com.
Employers interested in hiring registered apprentices or enrolling their current employees are critical to this partnership and we welcome your participation.
Here are the major details you should know about the Plumbing Registered Apprenticeship Program:
- 4-year program which may be shortened up to 50% based on previous experience
- 144 hours of training each year as described above
- Utilizing NCCER Plumbing curriculum, Levels 1-4
- Available to current staff as well as a source for new, motivated prospects
- Participants must work full-time in plumbing throughout (approx 2,000 hours yearly)
- Employers decide how much (if any) of the cost they share with apprentices
- A student (at least 16) may register for the classroom portions as a pre-apprentice
While we know you recognize the value of systematic training, we also recognize you have a business to run, so we have several options available for you and your participating staff:
- Hybrid: This modern option mixes printed NCCER curriculum, online self-paced instruction with knowledge assessment by Winn’s CE instructors, and hands-on competency assessment by your licensed professionals on-the-job or in shop settings. This option is $900 per year for each participant, $1,000 if they have significant experience and begin at Year/Level 3 since we will still deliver the first two years of the curriculum to them as well.
- Internal: This option certifies instructors within your organization to use the same NCCER curriculum on the schedule most convenient for you and your participants, allowing emphasis on the most relevant topics of concern to your focus and competitive needs. This option is $600 per year for each participant, $700 if they have significant experience and begin at Year/Level 3 since we will still deliver the first two years of the curriculum to them as well.
- Private: This most traditional option allows participants to attend sessions across each year of the program on a schedule we mutually determine beforehand, reading the material between each session and engaging with Winn’s CE licensed/certified instructors during each gathering. This could be just for your company or a consortium of companies, with pricing dependent upon the total number of participants (10 minimum).
To explore which option would best serve your needs, please contact us via email (Apprenticeship@WinnsCE.com).
High Schools, Junior & Community Colleges
Our program, including the pre-apprentice aspects, represent a tremendous opportunity for high-school, community & junior colleges to usher more students toward jobs in high demand right now. Through our meetings with the Texas Workforce Commission, we have ensured our Plumbing Registered Apprenticeship Program aligns with the Texas 60X30 education goal: 60 percent of young Texans having a degree or certificate by the year 2030.
Texas High Schools: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires Texas high school students enrolled in various Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs to receive industry-based certifications as a significant component of the state’s school accountability program. Click here for details of our NCCER Sponsorship Services.
Community & Junior Colleges: We want to partner with you in preparing young Texans to make a living wage in the construction trades. Please contact us via email (Apprenticeship@WinnsCE.com) so we can schedule a call or meeting to discuss the possibilities.
Year/Level 1 Topics
- Introduction to the Plumbing Profession
- Plumbing & General Construction Safety
- Tools of the Plumbing Trade
- Introduction to Plumbing Math
- Introduction to Plumbing Drawings
- Plastic Pipe & Fittings
- Copper Tube & Fittings
- Cast-Iron Pipe & Fittings
- Carbon Steel Pipe & Fittings
- Introduction to Plumbing Fixtures
- Introduction to Drain, Waste & Vent (DWV) Systems
- Introduction to Water Distribution Systems
Year/Level 3 Topics
- Applied Math
- Sizing Water Supply Piping
- Potable Water Treatment
- Types of Venting
- Sizing DWV and Storm Systems
- Sewage Pumps and Sump Pumps
- Corrosive-Resistant Waste Piping
- Compressed Air
- Service Plumbing
Year/Level 2 Topics
- Plumbing Math Two
- Reading Commercial Drawings
- Structural Penetrations, Insulation, and Fire Stopping
- Installing and Testing DWV Piping
- Installing Roof, Floor, and Area Drains
- Installing and Testing Water Supply Piping
- Type of Valves
- Installing Fixtures and Valves
- Installing Water Heaters
- Basic Electricity
- Fuel Gas and Fuel Oil Systems
Year/Level 4 Topics
- Business Principles for Plumbers
- Introductory Skills for the Crew Leader
- Water Pressure Booster and Recirculation
- Indirect and Special Waste
- Hydronic and Solar Heating Systems
- Plumbing and Related Codes
- Private Water Supply Well Systems
- Private Waste Disposal Systems
- Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs
- Plumbing for Mobile Homes and Travel Trailers
- Introduction to Medical Gas & Vacuum Systems
Access Application Packet
(First step, required for DOL Registration)