How Henry Plumbing creates a path for meaningful employment
If you’re looking for a job, plumbing is not a good choice for you. If you are looking for a career that is hands-on and challenging while making you an unsung hero for homeowners and business owners, plumbing could be a great fit!
Henry Plumbing has been serving Savannah for 50 years, and is a major employer in the Savannah area — carving out a career path with on-the-job training, help with the certification process and financial security.
Starting a Career in Plumbing
What Does a Plumber Do?
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly does a plumber do? A plumber installs and repairs pipes that supply water, gas and carry waste away from, homes and businesses. The professional plumber also installs fixtures, bathtubs, sinks, toilets and appliances — including dishwashers and washing machines.
Industry Needs and Job Outlook
Tonya Reed, owner of Henry Plumbing, said that there is a need nationwide for tradespeople — plumbers included.
“There is a real push toward learning a trade,” she said. “This has been neglected for years. We are in a real deficiency for experienced tradespeople.”
Here’s what a career in plumbing looks like:
For new plumbers, there is ample opportunity for learning and room to grow, because he more experienced plumbers are looking to retire. For many learning a trade, there are opportunities to earn while you learn, known as apprenticeships. Depending on who you work with during an apprenticeship, even more of your learning expenses could be covered.
Henry Plumbing pays for their employees to attend training courses — even the books. They are passionate about helping their employees obtain their certification for plumbing.
The job outlook for this field is excellent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to grow 16% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Plumbers play a critical role in keeping the nation’s infrastructure running. This, in turn, gives them another critical role: protecting our water supply. With so much at stake, there are strict regulations. Plumbers are required to have a license. Every state issues their own plumbing license, and the requirements vary state to state.
The State of Georgia issues three types of plumbing licenses to individual plumbers: the Journeyman Plumber License, Master Plumber License Class I and Master Plumber License Class II.
The requirements of the Journeyman Plumber License are as follows:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Pay the required examination fee of $30, plus the exam fee of $133.
There is no charge for the initial license, but renewals cost $35.
- Submit a completed application at least 60 days prior to the exam.
- Provide three (3) references from licensed plumbers, including a Master Plumber, attesting to the applicant’s good character and plumbing qualifications.
- Have taken and passed the Georgia Journeyman Plumber Test, demonstrating sufficient knowledge of the plumbing trade.
- Demonstrate at least 3 years of experience in the trade. The candidate for licensing must provide evidence of relevant experience. Education may be applied to the experience requirements, so transcripts should be submitted as a part of the application submission.
Those are the basics: education, training, an overview of daily work. But to be a successful plumber, and to enjoy your work day in and day out, you need to be prepared to solve problems, think critically, and not get too comfortable.
“We look for hard workers and someone eager to learn. This is a very physically and mentally challenging business,” said Tonya.
Critical Thinking is a Must
Because plumbing problems are not easy to spot, plumbers have to be prepared to think critically in order to determine the root cause of a problem. For instance, a leaking faucet might simply be a symptom of a greater problem.
“Working in the historical Savannah area is always eventful,” Tonya said. “This is where the knowledge of a company that has been around for 50 years comes into play. One of the brother-in-laws who has been with us since the ‘70s is invaluable when it comes to problem solving with old valves, toilets, etc.”
Don’t Get too Comfortable
Technology has transformed countless things in our lives, including plumbing. Plumbers need to keep an open mind, to learn and to adapt. They can’t get too comfortable!
“There have been changes in technology in the past years, especially with the introduction of tankless water heaters,” said Tonya. “We have sent employees to training courses and are a preferred installer for Rinnai tankless water heaters and for AO Smith tank style water heater.”
Plumbing is a great career choice with a good outlook for the future. Plumbers are critical thinkers who are constantly learning new technology and solving problems. Tonya said working as a plumber can boost self-esteem and confidence in the long-run, because the career requires considerable knowledge and skill to execute a job from start to finish with exacting precision.
“We love to see our employees succeed,” Tonya said. “We love to be able to make a difference in someone’s life. Those who are not college bound, who were not the best student, who had no one who believed in them, succeed.”
An employee came to me one day and said ‘Thank You.’ I asked, ‘For what?’ He said he was not sure if he would be alive without his job; he had something to look forward to and something to keep him out of trouble.”