Hometown: Heather, Pea Ridge; Tony, Bentonville
Age: Heather, 28; Tony, 29
Where We Trained: Jerry’s Plumbing & Backhoe and NorthWest Arkansas Community College
What We Earned: Certificate of apprenticeship, journeyman plumbing license
Job Titles: Journeyman Plumber
Employer: Jerry’s Plumbing & Backhoe LLC
Married couple Heather and Tony were excited about the job security of the plumbing industry. Heather’s father is a plumber, and she witnessed firsthand how rewarding the career can be. She wanted to be able to continue the legacy he built. Tony was intrigued by the opportunities this path presented, including the possibility of having his own business.
The couple attended NorthWest Arkansas Community College while training and working at Jerry’s Plumbing & Backhoe. Tony liked the personal, hands-on education that directly applied to the work he was doing.
“I was able to start an actual career before completing school, rather than waiting to get a degree [and] then looking for a job,” Tony said.
Heather agreed it was a relief to have guaranteed work after trade school. She tried traditional college but is glad she changed directions.
“I have been able to secure a career because I chose to take this route,” Heather said. “Several people attend college to obtain a degree in a specific field, and they find themselves searching for a job, sometimes for years.”
After completing their training and apprenticeships, Heather and Tony took on more responsibilities. Their daily tasks include scheduling job assignments, obtaining permits, ordering materials and setting up inspections.
“There are many regulations to follow and inspections to pass along the way,” Heather said. “The job can be very tedious, and at times challenging. So it’s important [to] have great problem-solving skills.”
Their line of work is often misunderstood. As journeyman plumbers, Heather and Tony complete large-scale projects like installing drain, waste, gas and vent piping as well as water lines.
“It can be laborious,” Tony said. “It’s much more than unclogging toilets.”
WHAT DOES A PLUMBER DO?
Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems.
Most plumbers learn on the job through apprenticeships and some pursue vocational-technical degrees and certificates before receiving on-the-job training. Most states require plumbers to be licensed.
► 16% projected job growth in Arkansas by 2028
► 480 annual projected job openings in Arkansas
This option is for you if
- You have a can-do personality
- You like to think up solutions to tricky problems
- You enjoy using your skills to help others
- You don't mind getting your hands dirty
High-end earners in Arkansas (top 10%) make
Average wages in Arkansas
START YOUR TRAINING
- Arkansas Construction Education Foundation
- National Park College
- NorthWest Arkansas Community College
- University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
READY TO HIRE YOU
- McKee Foods Corporation
- Paschal Heat & Air