How to Become a Plumber in the UK

How to Become a Plumber in the UK

How to become a plumber

The traditional route to becoming a plumber in the UK is through a plumbing apprenticeship, typically straight after completing your secondary education, although it’s never too late to retrain as a plumber! This is of course a brilliant option, but there are actually several paths available to prospective plumbers. These include:

  • Enrolling at a technical university or trade school
  • Taking a fast-track course
  • Working as a plumber’s assistant


Why get into plumbing?

Plumbing is an excellent career to get into, and there are many financial, physical and mental benefits for working in this trade. If you'd like to become a plumber in the UK, we've put together the ultimate guide to answer all the frequently asked questions about becoming a plumber. 


Blog Contents:

  1. Can You Become a Plumber Without an Apprenticeship?
  2. What Qualifications Do I Need to Be a Plumber?
  3. How Much Money Do Plumbers Make?
  4. Can You Become a Plumber While Working?
  5. Is 40 Too Old to Become a Plumber?
  6. How to Become a Plumber with Access Training


Can you become a plumber without an apprenticeship?

Yes, you can very easily become a plumber without an apprenticeship. Many people believe that the only way to become a plumber is through a traditional apprenticeship, but there are actually many alternative pathways that will help you become a plumber faster. 

When you become a plumber through a traditional apprenticeship, you can expect to study for up to 4 years until you reach a qualified standard. This is an extremely long period of time, and this can deter applicants from starting a career in trade. To become a professional plumber, we ditch all the hassle and time that you'd spend in a plumbing apprenticeship looking over someone's shoulders.

Instead, we offer intensive plumbing courses where you'll be able to gain plumbing experience in weeks, rather than years. In the time it takes to complete a full apprenticeship, you could earn back the investment you made for a private training course ten-fold!

Alternatively, if you'd like to earn money while training as a plumber, our plumbing Access Apprenticeship would be the perfect option for you if you want to start making a living wage alongside training to be a plumber. Don't worry - the Access Apprenticeship doesn't involve years of work! In our plumbing apprenticeship, we'll help you obtain your CSCS card and set you up with work as a groundworker or labourer. You can then go on to earn up to £27,000 per year (on average).


What qualifications do I need to be a plumber?

To become a plumber, you will need the following qualifications to gain your NVQ Level 2 certifications:

  • 2 or more GCSEs from grade 9 to 3 (A*-D)

The NVQ Level 2 certificate is what you need to become a plumber, as it will provide you with all of the domestic heating and plumbing training knowledge that you need to start off with.

Once you've achieved your Level 2 Plumbing NVQ, you can progress onto a range of our plumbing courses depending on whether you'd like to work as a domestic plumber, or a commercial plumber. 

If you'd like to become a domestic plumber and get your Level 2 Plumbing Certification..

Essential Plumbing Course - this course covers all the key areas of plumbing so you have the basics under your belt.

If you'd like to expand your existing plumbing skillset with a NVQ Diploma...

Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Plumbing and Heating - for advanced knowledge surrounding the ability to install, maintain and repair heating and water systems.

If you'd like to become a commercial plumber or an approved contractor for your local water authority...

WRAS - Water Regulations Advisory Scheme Course- this course will equip you with all the knowledge you need to gain an 'approved status', allowing you to take on contracts from local housing associations, local authorities, health care trusts and building contractors.

If you want to advance your knowledge even more to become a plumber...

Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems Course - this course will provide you with the skill needed to install and maintain unvented hot water systems.

If you want to go the extra mile...

ACS Gas Assessment - if you're looking to expand your horizons further, many of our students go on to this course allowing you to work on domestic gas appliances.

See More: Do I Need an NVQ to be a Plumber?


How much money do plumbers make? 

Plumbers are in extremely high demand, and the salary of a plumber definitely reflects this. After taking a professional plumbing course, you can expect to earn £18,000-£20,000 per year in an entry-level plumber position (and even more if you're based in London or the surrounding areas of London). 

Once you become an experienced plumber, you can expect to make £21,000-£30,000 per year. At this point, you will also require a few additional qualifications. 

If you want to get a head start and earn up to £35,000 per year as a plumber, you can gain multiple gas and electrical qualifications with our premier plumbing course. After that, you can complete your Gas Safe training so you can become a gas plumber with an even more rewarding salary.

On the other hand, if you'd rather work for yourself, you can become a self-employed plumber. Self-employed plumbers can make a rewarding amount of money - some of which making as much as £60,000 per year!. This is because self-employed plumbers can charge up to £90 per hour, equating to £1,000 per week

However, the financial rewards do not stop there. If you're a self employed plumber and you're willing to put in the hours and offer 24-hour call-out services, you could easily earn up to £100,000 per year. Work hard, play hard - right?


Can I become a plumber while working?

Plumbing courses are available on a full-time, part-time or fast-track basis for those looking to become a qualified plumber in their own time. We understand that the stresses and responsibilities of life can get in the way, which is why we believe it's important to provide our students with the flexibility they need.

It's actually very easy to become a plumber when working. We have flexible training packages which mean you can train to become a plumber around work, family or any other commitments. We'll never expect you to put your life on hold - that's just impossible, and extremely unrealistic. At Access Training, our main priority is to help you become a plumber in your own time, and in a way that works best for your learning. 


Is 40 too old to become a plumber?

As of May 2023, UK residents will not receive their state pension until 67 years of age. Whilst this means that people are working longer, this also means that it's never too late to become a plumber, and at 40, you're not 'too old' in the slightest. In fact, if you become a plumber at 40, you'll have another 27 years of working left!  

If you can see yourself working in the same job, for the same amount of money, for the next 27 years or so - then fair enough! On the other hand, 40 is a great age to retrain and become a plumber. 

In fact, there are many benefits to becoming a plumber at 40. For instance, it could be beneficial for your health and dexterity. As you'll be active and working with your hands on a daily basis, you'll definitely achieve your 10,000 steps a day alongside having constant mental stimulation which will help to keep your body and mind active. 

Ultimately, there is no age limit to become a plumber. No matter when you choose to retrain as a plumber, you will be giving yourself the chance to spend the rest of your career in an exciting, varied and rewarding career. 


Start Your Plumbing Career With Access Training Today.

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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