Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Becoming a state-certified plumber at the journeyman level is a major undertaking that requires years of work, study and preparation.The numerous prerequisites to each state exam make the process difficult and complicated, but the experience you can expect to gain from the whole of those experiences is excellent preparation for the exam itself. If you want to pass this exam, you'll need to know exactly what will be on the test, what the state requires of its applicants and how you want to satisfy all of the many requirements.
Contact your state's labor department and inquire about information on the state's journeyman plumber exam. In some states, plumbing-exam programs are run entirely out of this office. In other states, they operate out of other state departments that are affiliated with the labor department. In either case, a representative of the the state's labor department will be able to tell you who to contact for information, printed materials and exam registration.
Obtain written materials from the department that runs the journeyman plumber exam in your state. Make sure that these materials include all of the prerequisites to taking the exam, resources on preparation classes, lists of required reading materials and instructions on how to register for the exam. Read and study all of these materials carefully.
Seek an apprenticeship with a master plumber in your state if this is a requirement of taking the exam. In some states, but not all of them, plumbers must work under the direct supervision of a certified master plumber for a specific number of hours before they can register for the journeyman plumber exam. If this is required in your state, you must be hired for an apprenticeship and you must work with the master plumber to carefully document your work hours.
Study the texts specified in the list of required reading. If you are just beginning the test-preparation process, you likely have at least two years of working, training and studying ahead of you, which is a good amount of time to master these texts. It is important to not put this off until the last minute, though, so you should be studying at your own pace from the beginning of the process.
Enroll in state exam-preparation courses and attend them regularly. The exams themselves vary from state to state, so it's important to take state-specific courses. In some states, a certain amount of preparatory coursework is required before you can register for an exam. Refer to the materials you obtained from the state department that runs the exam to find out if courses are required in your state, as well as to find registration information for all available courses. If the course-specific materials you obtained from the state are more than a few months old, you may want to contact the department again to see if they have more recent course schedules and information.
Take a practice exam before registering for the actual exam. Again, information on how to find and register for practice exams is available directly from the department that runs the exam in your state. The practice exams are designed to mimic the actual exams in terms of difficulty, length and depth of information. You should study for these exams just like you would for the actual exam. If you pass a practice exam with flying colors, you'll likely do well on the actual exam. If you do not pass the practice exam, you know you have some more work to do before you should attempt to take the real one. It is best to continue taking practice exams until you can pass with a strong grade before moving on to the real thing.
Register for the state journeyman plumber exam with the appropriate state department. You may be able to register in person, over the phone or online, so refer to your printed materials from the state to understand all of your options. Be prepared to provide proof that you satisfy all exam prerequisites when you register; this may include proof that you've worked under a master plumber for a certain number of hours and course transcripts from specific plumbing courses.
Prepare extensively in the days leading up to the exam to make sure you're as well-prepared as can be. If you've earned strong grades on your practice exams, prepare in the same way. Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before the exam and eat a good breakfast the next morning.
Take the exam. Unless you are told in advance that the exam will be timed and you will be graded on how quickly you complete it, take all the time that is available to you. If there is time left over at the end of the test, review your answers and double-check all of your work.
- Plumber's Licensing Study Guide, R. Dodge Woodson, 2001
- Journeyman Plumber's Exam Secrets Study Guide: Plumber's Test Review for the Journeyman Plumber's Exam, Plumber's Exam Secrets Test Prep, 2009