When you hire a plumber in Toronto, you might be wondering whether he (or she) is qualified to do the job they’re employed for. So we thought it might be interesting for you to read what a plumber goes through to become qualified in Ontario. It will not only give you peace of mind when you need plumbing repairs done in your home or business, but it will also give you an idea of how strict the provincial regulations are and why you should always, always contract with a licensed, registered plumber.

Plumbing Apprenticeship

It all starts with an apprenticeship, which is an agreement between someone who wants to learn a trade, and an employer who needs a worker. An apprenticeship in this industry takes 5 years in Ontario, and most of the time is spent working at an agreed wage while learning practical skills. In a plumbing apprenticeship, the apprentice usually spends a few weeks each year studying plumbing theory at a local college, and the remainder of his time working for the plumber.

Subjects Studied

Ontario’s Conestoga College in Waterloo offers plumbing apprenticeship courses, which consist of three modules each lasting eight weeks. The modules cover basic, intermediate and advanced programs, and are designed to teach the apprentice how to perform a range of tasks he will be required to do while working as a plumber. All three levels include training in mathematics, which enable the plumber to perform the type of piping system calculations needed to upgrade a home’s water service, as well as knowledge of welding, trade documentation, trade theory and practices.

Getting an Apprenticeship

To get taken on by a contractor in a plumbing apprenticeship, a student needs to first find an employer who is looking to hire apprentices. Salaries for apprentices are typically quite low, and for the first few months at least the work is fairly basic. Apprentices typically start out by helping with work that doesn’t require skills, such as the passing of tools, lifting and carrying equipment. As they assist on a range of jobs they learn more, until they reach the point where they are able to carry out simple tasks satisfactorily under the plumber’s supervision.

Becoming Qualified

Successful completion of a plumbing apprenticeship in Ontario requires the student to prove he has spent 9,000 hours in work and study. This takes approximately 5 years to do, after which they can apply to become a journeyperson, which means they are qualified to work alone. To do so, apprentices need a Certificate of Apprenticeship or a Trade Equivalency Assessment to show they have completed all the requirements for journeyman status. On becoming a journeyperson, they can sit for the Ontario College of Trades Certificate of Qualification exam. Only then can they become a registered plumber and be licensed to work independently.

So next time you hire a plumber in Toronto, you’ll know just how much work he put into becoming qualified to do his job.