Career pathways for plumbers


While the job title of ‘plumber’ doesn’t leave much to the imagination in terms of applicable work, there are in fact many career pathways available to professionals working in this industry. Depending on your qualifications and chosen speciality, you can find yourself working on some rather high-end and overall very profitable plumbing projects.

Advantages of becoming a registered or licensed plumber in Victoria

If you intend to do plumbing work anywhere in Victoria, you’ll need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be licensed by the VBA
  • Be registered with the VBA (or have provisional registration and work under the supervision of a licensed plumber)
  • Be in training under the supervision of a licensed plumber

It’s important to note that registration and licensing are two different things. A licensed plumber generally has a higher level of experience than a registered plumber or someone in training. A licensed plumber can issue a compliance certificate to consumers to demonstrate that their work complies with the necessary standards. A licensed plumber is also required to be covered by insurance that protects consumers in the event of defective plumbing work.

Not only is a plumbing registration or licence a requirement for a plumber to offer their services in Victoria, but it also demonstrates to potential customers that they possess a higher level of knowledge and expertise. As you are required to meet a certain minimum of industry skills and understanding to receive your licence, this reflects your ability as a tradesperson and earns you more credibility in the eyes of your customer.

If you are not registered, licensed or under the supervision of a qualified plumber, but conduct plumbing work anyway, you run the risk of being slammed with severe penalties from the VBA for doing so. This point is enforced to regulate the industry and ensure the workforce maintains a consistent high standard of professionalism and quality.

How do I get registered?

To obtain registration in a class of plumbing, you must have the necessary experience and qualifications to demonstrate your competency. In terms of qualifications, this means you must have successfully completed one of the following plumbing courses:

  • Certificate III in Plumbing
  • Certificate III in Roof Plumbing
  • Certificate III in Plumbing (Mechanical Services)
  • Certificate III in Drainage
  • Certificate III in Fire Protection
  • Certificate II in Urban Irrigation
  • Certificate III in Airconditioning and Refrigeration
  • Certificate II in (Engineering) Refrigerated Airconditioning

These courses also must include the Approved Competency Units for the corresponding class of plumbing work you intend to seek registration in. Finally, you must successfully complete the VBA’s registration exam, also known as ‘the Journeyman’s exam.’

In regards to experience, you need to have successfully completed a plumbing apprenticeship in Australia, or have employment in the plumbing class you want to be registered in. You will be required to back up your qualifications and experience with documentation, so make sure you start compiling a record of all the projects and jobs you work on.

The eight classes of plumbing work

According to Victoria’s Plumbing Regulations 2008, there are eight main classes of plumbing work a practitioner can become licensed in. These include:

  • Fire protection
  • Drainage
  • Gasfitting
  • Mechanical service
  • Irrigation (non-agricultural)
  • Roofing (stormwater)
  • Water supply
  • Sanitary

There are also an additional six speciality classes for those looking to get into a specific area of plumbing. If you intend to specialise in more than one of these classes, then you will be required to obtain registration and a licence for each. Those caught offering multiple plumbing services without the appropriate registration and licence, will also face penalties.

What you need to be licensed to work in a class, or specialised plumbing class

  • Eligible to be registered in that class of plumbing work
  • Successfully complete the VBA’s licence examination of competencies in that particularly class of plumbing work
  • Depending on the class of specialised plumbing work, you may have to already be registered in certain classes
  • Have the necessary insurance coverage.

 Preparing yourself with the knowledge to upskill

Pursuing any one of these speciality classes involves a lot of industry understanding and this is why it’s important to seek out a trade course such as CPC40920 Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services, to help fill your knowledge gaps.

To learn more about such courses and how they can benefit your plumbing career pathway, visit Builders Academy’s page on plumbing certificates today.