Should I become a plumber?
August 20, 2013 9:22 AM Subscribe
I’m seriously thinking about becoming a plumber (or possibly an electrician). Does this idea make sense for me from a personal and financial perspective?
posted by anonymous to work & money (27 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
More inside: I’m almost thirty; I have a Master’s degree in a field in which I am having trouble getting a job and in which I have largely lost interest (I did work in the field for a couple of years). My husband and I (I’m a woman) have a lot of student debt and would like to make more money. This also means I can’t spend a lot of money on changing careers and I can’t stop working entirely to attend school. I’m interested in becoming a plumber because I think it would be good, steady, well-paying work and I enjoy working with my hands and it seems like it could involve a certain amount of problem-solving. When I was a kid I actually wanted to be a plumber when I grew up and I find the idea really exciting but I don’t know as much about the reality of it. These thoughts also apply to potentially becoming an electrician.
With this in mind, I would really appreciate guidance on the following questions (substitute electrician for plumber where appropriate):
1) What would I need to do to become a plumber? How much training would I need and how long would it take before I started making some money?
2) How much would I be likely to get paid eventually? Is there a range based on experience? Approximately what would this be? How hard would it be to find work? I am in Washington DC if it makes a difference.
3) What is the day-to-day work of plumbing like? What would I actually spend my time doing? What different types of plumbing jobs are there? Installing stuff? Fixing people’s drains? How gross would it be? I can tolerate a certain amount of gross but I’d like to know what to expect.
4) I’m a woman and I read an article saying that plumbing is the job in the US with the smallest percentage of women. Would this be a problem? Would I face serious issues and pushback from teachers and colleagues? I’m also pretty well-educated and I’d be starting later in life. Would these be really big obstacles to fitting in and getting jobs?
5) Which would be a better choice, becoming a plumber or an electrician, in terms of amount of training, future pay, and quality of life in the job (especially for a woman)?
I really need something that would work for my family and me long-term; I can’t take a job that I would want to leave after a couple of years, especially if it involved a great deal of training. I am looking for answers with people experienced in the field of plumbing, electricianing, or who at least have specific knowledge about these areas. I’m not looking for general impressions, I’d really like answers from people who actually know something about these fields. That said, any advice you can give me would be very, very much appreciated.
If you think I shouldn’t do this, based on actual knowledge you have, please tell me that. I am not in a position to start a career I will leave soon and I would rather be told flat-out that it’s a bad idea than try and fail or want to quit after a few years.