If you like working independently, working in a variety of environments and enjoy developing specialized skills, you will enjoy working as a plumber. You will plan, install and service plumbing systems, fixtures, piping equipment and controls. These piping systems may be used to transport water, waste, gases or hot liquids.
On a typical construction job, you will do the roughing in after the frame and roof of a new building are in place. This means you will study the building plans and specifications to determine the layout for the plumbing and other materials, locate and mark the positions for connections and fixtures, cut holes through walls and floors to accommodate pipes, select the type and size of pipe required and measure, cut, thread, bend, clamp, solvent cement or solder pipe, assemble and install valves and fittings, join pipe sections and secure them in position, test pipe systems for leaks, and install underground storm sanitary and water piping system. After this is completed, you’ll return to the construction site after the plasterers or drywallers, tilesetters and floor covering installers have completed their work to do the finishing work such as installing sinks, tubs and toilets.
You may also do residential repair and maintenance work in individuals’ homes, commercial and institutional structures. You will provide customer service for renovations or common plumbing problems that occur in houses and multi-home structures.
This is a compulsory trade - to work in this trade you need to hold a recognized trade certificate or be a registered apprentice.
Start your career by finding an employer who is willing to indenture you as an apprentice or gain experience with our Pre-Employing Pipe Trades program.
As a plumber, you will be employed by a construction contractor, plumbing repair shop or a large organization. You will work in a variety of different environments including outdoor and indoor work. You will work on construction site or doing repair or maintenance work in residential, commercial or institutional structures. You may work indoors or outdoors depending on the job; outdoor work will primarily include construction sites where you will do the roughing-in. Finishing, repair and maintenance work will be primarily indoor work. In smaller communities, you may do a wider variety of plumbing jobs, such as installing private sewage disposal systems and potable water distribution systems.
As a journeyperson, you will likely make a wage between $28 - $37 an hour depending on your employer.
After becoming a journeyperson, you may advance to supervisory positions such as foreman or estimator. Some journeypersons go on to run their own businesses, primarily contracting business – we can help you build your business with our Blue Seal business certificate.
Students who have the following characteristics see greater success in the pipe trades:
- The physical stamina required to use proper lifting techniques for heavy pipes, be on your feet for long periods of time and work in cramped positions
- Mechanical ability
- The ability to estimate and measure size and lengths accurately
- The ability to work independently or with a team
- Good customer service and communication skills
- A commitment to safe working conditions
Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, graduates will be awarded journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Plumbers are a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada.
Admission and Completion
To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.
Entrance Requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Successful completion of the following courses:
- English 20-2
- Math 20-3
- Science 10
A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam
Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:
- English 30-2
- Math 30-3
- Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
- Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
How to register
Registration for technical training is run through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Learn how you can register for your next intake.
After you register
Email is the primary source of communication after you have registered for your intake. Please ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
Apprentices in the plumbing trade will spend 4 years (four 12-month periods) of on-the-job training and technical training at SAIT. Technical training will be 8 weeks each year.
|Find an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice|
|Apply as an apprentice with AIT and your employer|
|Sign contract and recieve record book|
|Written entrance examination or get approved for previous transcripts|
|Complete first period of on-the-job-training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend first period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass first period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete second period of on-the-job training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend second period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass second period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete third period of on-the-job training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend third period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass third period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete fourth period of on-the-job training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend fourth period of technical training for 8 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass fourth period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Become a Journeyperson|
|Write and pass the Interprovincial Qualification Exam|
Technical Training Performance
To be successful in technical training, an apprentice must pass each section of the course and pass the AIT exam. The passing grade for each section in the course is a 65%. A passing mark on each Trade Qualification Exam and the Interprovincial Qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.
Domestic tuition and fees*
|Period||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||Student Association fees||2019/20 total|
Books and supplies*
Books or modules along with other items for class average out to $600 per period.
Do not purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes and they cannot be returned to the bookstore.
- Personal Protective Equipment will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.
*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
Membership to the SAIT Wellness centre - including an ice arena, swimming/diving pool, gymnasium, squash and racquetteball courts and eight room is available to apprentices at a discounted rate.
Experienced instructors with skills honed from years in the helped prepare Ashley for work in the real world. He appreciated they taught using real-life scenarios and tips and tricks needed to solve unexpected problems.
There’s no better indicator of success than landing employment before school is finished, which is exactly what happened for Vanessa.
“The teachers know everything there is to know. They bring knowledge and experience to the class.”
“There was no job guarantee when I graduated from university and there is with this. It got me work right away,” she says. “You have the skills and knowledge to go straight into the industry.”