Being a plumbing technician is an important job. They perform services such as inspection, adjusting, and repairing plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings. And, as evidenced by the recent housing and construction industry boom, employment opportunities for plumbers are expected to increase.
Plumbing requires knowledge about pipes and the chemistry of water. But it also requires strong people skills to convince customers to allow you to access their homes or businesses for inspections and repairs. So, they need to be persuasive.
But aside from the manually laborious aspect of this career, plumbers also need to manage their time and keep track of their customers’ plumbing jobs to maximize profits.
In addition, they must stay knowledgeable about new plumbing techniques and equipment so that they can provide the most current services to clients. All these can be confusing, which makes it all the more difficult to advance in this industry.
But you shouldn’t be afraid because there are ways to advance your career in the plumbing industry. Here are five strategies that you can use to make it happen:
1. Join a Union
One of the best ways to advance your plumber’s career is by joining a union. Plumbing trade unions provide members with training opportunities, as well as information on apprenticeships and job openings.
Additionally, several benefits of joining a union include having retirement savings plans, job security, and health insurance. Plus, as an official member of the union, you will be able to negotiate your salary and working conditions with your employer.
So, if you’re looking to advance your career in the plumbing industry, joining a trade union is where you should start. This could also be a great way to meet mentors and enhance your chances of getting a job promotion.
2. Take Plumbing-related Courses
Another way for plumbers to advance their careers is by taking additional courses and certifications in their field. Continuing education (CE) courses are offered by both the union and non-union training centers, vocational schools, community colleges, technical institutes, four-year universities, and online learning platforms.
Plumbers looking for advancement should consider courses in either plumbing design or project management to stay competitive in their field. Or if you’re already a licensed plumber, you can take CE classes to renew your contractor license.
Taking CE courses is also a great way to network with other professionals. For instance, you can meet suppliers and service professionals from different companies who may just give you a referral or offer you a position in their organization.
3. Network with Other Professionals in Your Field
The plumbing industry is a tight-knit community, so plumbers need to have strong connections with their colleagues. To do this, you can join local trade organizations and attend local trade shows to get your name out there.
Moreover, you can look into attending conferences or networking events related to your field of specialty to expand your network even further. Ask everyone you meet what they do in their spare time, and this will give you more ideas about how to advance your career.
If you’re lucky, you can meet potential mentors, business partners, and employers during the events. So don’t miss out on the chance to attend such events because it could be worth your time to be there.
4. Volunteer Your Time to Help out Others in Need
Plumbers are highly-skilled professionals who can fix pretty much anything, including the occasional toilet, so putting your skills to good use is a wonderful way to give back. Plus, it can help you gain exposure and public speaking experience.
For example, many plumbers donate their time and talent to Habitat for Humanity, building homes for people in need. The organization welcomes volunteers of all kinds, so this can be a good way to give back to the community and advance your career at the same time.
Volunteering can also be a great way to network with other professionals in your industry. Ideally, you can meet potential mentors who can give you advice on how to advance your career. And when you volunteer, you are recognized for the services that you provide. So it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
5. Become a Mentor to Newer Technicians
The thought may have never crossed your mind before, but mentoring amateur technicians can be a great way to advance your career. If you are qualified, you can ask if there are any new technicians in your company that would like some guidance.
You can start by showing them the ropes during their apprenticeship and provide them with specific feedback about how they can improve over time. If you feel ready, you can start mentoring technicians in other companies as well.
By taking advantage of the strategies outlined above, you’ll be on your way to an excellent professional future. You have all the skills and knowledge necessary to do your job right; now, it’s just a matter of implementing them correctly.