Most people at some point will need the services of a plumber whether it’s fixing leaks, connecting pipes or unblocking drains. In fact, a plumber is a veritable hero to those ankle deep in water and wondering how to stop water gushing onto their kitchen floor.

A growing shortage of plumbers means it’s a great time to get into the industry. You could work as a maintenance plumber, on building sites fitting new pipes, radiators, sinks and bathrooms or deal with emergencies. Whatever you do you’ll be helping people in a practical, hands-on way.

Fact: Domestic plumbers earn between £28,000 and £40,000 a year, depending on experience

No two days are ever the same and you’ll work with different co-workers and clients, so the scenery changes as you move from job to job. Plumbing is pretty physical too so you could even get fit while you work!

What qualifications and experience do you need?

It takes around four years to qualify. You’re required to have an NVQ Diploma (Level 3) in plumbing and domestic heating and you have to find work placements to get that all-important practical experience under your tool belt. If you want to become a gas engineer, you’ll need ACS accreditations and to be on the Gas Safe Register.

Earn while you learn.

Becoming an apprentice is a brilliant way into the industry – an employer will teach you the ropes and pay for your course so effectively you earn while you learn. The exact job will depend on the employer but it will equip you with the skills and know-how to become a qualified plumber.

You should have GCSEs (A*-C) in maths, English and science and you might need to take an aptitude test. Colleges and employers will also test to see if you’re colour blind – if you are, it’s a no go for plumbing.


Friendly, approachable, calm and patient – these are just few of the attributes you need to be a plumber. You’ll meet lots of different people so you need to be able to handle different situations diplomatically. 

Fact: A plumber will work on average 37-40 hours a week. 


Problem-solving and analytical skills are good to have and it won’t hurt to have business and accounting skills. As you can imagine, customer service is a must. 


The world is your oyster once you’ve qualified. You could build your experience and then specialise in areas like ventilation, air conditioning, renewable energy or oil-fired central heating. You could also be your own boss by going self-employed and starting your own plumbing firm.