Plumbing Technology


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Catalog Course Descriptions

Certificates and Degrees you can earn:

Program Overview:

Most people are familiar with plumbers, who come to their home to unclog a drain or install an appliance. In addition to these activities plumbers install, maintain, and repair many different types of pipe systems. For example, some systems move water to a municipal water treatment plant and then to residential, commercial, and public buildings. Other systems dispose of waste, provide gas to stoves and furnaces, or provide for heating and cooling needs. Pipe systems in power plants carry the steam that powers huge turbines. Pipes also are used in manufacturing plants to move material through the production process. Specialized piping systems are very important in both pharmaceutical and computer-chip manufacturing.  Plumbers must be able to follow building plans or blueprints and instructions from supervisors, lay out the job, and work efficiently with the materials and tools of their trade. Computers and specialized software are used to create blueprints and plan layouts.  To meet the training needs of persons interested in becoming a service and repair plumber or a commercial construction plumber, Los Angeles Trade Technical College offers a Plumbing Associate in Science Degree and a Plumbing Construction Technologies Associates in Arts Degree; as well as their equivalent Certificates of Completion (Core major classes without general education classes).  What is the difference you ask?  The Science Degree is designed for day time implementation and for people that are looking to make first entry into the field.  A student taking the Science Degree program must be able to commit to fulltime student status which is approximately 24 hours per week.  This commitment in time is required to allow for all of the hands on training in laboratory applications that are utilized during the course of instruction.  The Arts degree program is designed for evening implementation and for individuals that are currently in the field and looking to improve their skills or learn new ones.  Limitations on available evening hours restrict the utilization of extensive hands on laboratory practices and the hands on application is assumed to happen at the place of employment of the student.

Industry Information

Plumbers work in commercial and residential settings where water and septic systems need to be installed and maintained.  They also work outdoors, sometime in remote areas, as they build the pipelines that connect sources of oil, gas, and chemicals with the users of these materials.
Because plumbers frequently must lift heavy pipes, stand for long periods, and sometimes work in uncomfortable or cramped positions, they need physical strength as well as stamina. They also may have to work outdoors in inclement weather. In addition, they are subject to possible falls from ladders, cuts from sharp tools, and burns from hot pipes or soldering equipment.

Job opportunities are expected to be excellent, as demand for skilled plumbers is expected to outpace the supply of workers trained in this craft. Many employers report difficulty finding potential workers with the right qualifications. In addition, many people currently working in these trades are expected to retire over the next 10 years, which will create additional job openings.

Employment of plumbers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through the year 2014. Demand for plumbers will stem from new construction and building renovation. Bath remodeling, in particular, is expected to continue to grow and create more jobs for plumbers. In addition, repair and maintenance of existing residential systems will keep plumbers employed. Construction projects generally provide only temporary employment. When a project ends, some plumbers may be unemployed until they can begin work on a new project, although most companies are trying to limit these periods of unemployment in order to retain workers.  Plumbers are generally less sensitive to changes in economic conditions than jobs in other construction trades. Even when construction activity declines, maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of existing piping systems, as well as the increasing installation of fire sprinkler systems, provide many jobs for plumbers.

Plumbers are among the highest paid construction occupations. In May 2006, median hourly earnings were $22.68. The middle 50 percent earned between $16.05 and $24.69. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $31.07.

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