How Long Does it Take to Become a Plumber?


Plumbing is more than just tinkering with drains, pipes, and plumbing systems. When you work in plumbing, you also work on installing, repairing, and maintaining various systems, including heating, cooling, gas, water supply, ventilation systems, and much more.

In Australia, the plumbing industry is in high demand. Most people don’t have the skills to be able to fix their home plumbing issues themselves, so plumbing businesses will always be something Australians want easy access to.

If you’re attracted to the plumbing industry but are asking yourself, ‘how long does it take to become a plumber?’, or ‘where can my career go?’, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s take a closer look at the steps it takes to become a plumber in Australia in 2023. From gaining theoretical knowledge and management expertise to gaining hands-on, on-the-tools experience after completing their vocational education, plumbing students have a bright future ahead of them.

Learn More about the Cert IV in Plumbing

How do I become a plumber?

Becoming a plumber doesn’t happen overnight.

Like many trades in the building and construction industry, your journey begins with an apprenticeship with a registered professional to gain higher-level vocational skills, along with a class-based program such as the Certificate III.

what to study to become a plumber in Australia

What do I study to become a plumber?

How long will my studies take?

Completing your certification in plumbing will usually take from 3 to 4 years to complete, depending on whether you choose to study part time or full time.

Is there an opportunity for further study and upskilling?

Once you’ve completed your plumbing apprenticeship, you can start looking into other building and construction Certificate IV courses, such as our CPC40920 Certificate IV in Plumbing Services.

Once you successfully complete this qualification, you will be armed with the skills and knowledge you need to become a licensed plumber who abides by plumbing regulations. This is particularly important if you aim to work in any of the classes without supervision.

The course takes 41 weeks to complete and includes six practical training days. You’ll be assessed and trained for each unit in a workplace setting. Once you’ve completed this plumbing training, you’ll be ready to take on the state examination and get your plumbing license.

How many different types of plumbers are there?

To break it down, here are the eight main classes of plumbing:

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

There are also six additional speciality classes for those looking to get into a particular area of plumbing. But if you’re hoping to specialise in more than one of these, you’ll need to obtain registration and a licence for each.

difference between registered and licensed plumber

Difference between a registered vs. licensed plumber?

Before you ask yourself, how long does it take to become a plumber, perhaps you should consider what type of plumber you want to be. In the plumbing industry, there are two types of plumbers: registered and licensed. Being registered generally means completing your apprenticeship, along with your Certificate III.

As a registered plumber, you can still work in a certain class or classes of plumbing, but you can’t issue compliance certificates and you’ll need to work under the supervision of a licenced plumber. If you’re a licensed plumber, you don’t have to worry about these restrictions. This is because you’ll have obtained a higher level of education, knowledge and practical experience. Part of this is studying towards the CPC40920 Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services.

If you’re not licensed, registered or working under the supervision of a qualified plumber – but you continue to carry out plumbing work – you run the risk of facing significant fines and penalties from the VBA, or your particular state authority.

Keep in mind that going through the application process to get registered or licensed takes time. It’s best to be thoroughly prepared before getting things underway. You can find out more about this here.

what is the biggest demand for plumbers

Where is the biggest demand for plumbers?

The plumbing industry is diverse and interesting. In fact, employment right across Australia has shown solid growth over the past decade or so. This isn’t about to slow down any time soon.

With the right level of experience and plumbing training under your belt, there are plenty of opportunities to find work and advance your career. That’s why becoming a licensed plumber is a smart move.

For clients, nothing is more impressive than a certified master plumber who knows his or her stuff – and can carry out difficult tasks without a hitch. Plus, the more experienced you are, the more money you can earn.

With so many classes of plumbing to work in, there are plenty of ways to skill up, find your niche and broaden your career. You might enjoy working in a specialist plumbing firm and tackling big commercial projects. Or, you might even take the plunge and set up your own small business.

Whatever direction you choose, the more experience you build up, and the qualifications you have, the better your job prospects will be.

get into plumbing with Builders Academy

Get into the plumbing industry with Builders Academy

If you’re looking for more information about how to get this career underway, what plumbing training you need to get to that next level, or how long it takes to become a plumber, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Looking to take the next step in your career in plumbing with a certificate? Contact our team at 1300 LEGEND (1300 534 363) or request a callback and we will get back to you with all the information you need.

This article has been updated and republished on 15th May 2023.