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  • Plumbing education?

    I'm curious if you could tell me how your certification/plumbing education works where you live?

    In Canada, how it works is we have a 4 year apprenticeship program for the trade of plumbing. You do four school sessions, combined with on the job training as an Apprentice. The first 3 school sessions are 5-6 weeks long, and the last school session is 7-8 weeks long (depends on which school you go to in your area). The Trade of plumbing, because it is so interrelated with gas fitting in a lot of cases, also gives you your Gasfitter certification ('B' Gas Ticket). In your last (4th) session of school you write your Plumbing ticket exam, and your 'B' Gas ticket exam. If you pass both, then once you complete your 5700 hours of on the job training, you get your PLumbing Ticket, and Gas Ticket.

    Your Plumbing ticket in Canada is based on the National Plumbing Code of Canada which is what you learn from and write part of your final exam on. So when I get my Plumbing ticket I get what's called an Inter-Provincial Red Seal which certifies me as a Plumber across Canada in all Provinces. Every Province in Canada has their own Provincial plumbing code, BUT this provincial code is basically the national code with local amendments (usually dealing with environmental conditions) and the National Code has become so good as of the last revision, that there are now very few revisions in each Province which helps simplify things. But there are some cities which also have their own sort of "adjustments" or interpretations of the code which you kinda learn as you go and are usually in most cases not that big of a deal, just inspector preferences or authority having jurisdiction type things.

    In the Province I live in, we have 3 Gas Tickets - A, B, & C. I don't know too much about a 'C' ticket other then its got a fair amount of restrictions on what you can do, but a B Gas ticket which is what I have lets me work in a strong majority of gas appliances/systems - basically everything you will find in residential, most commercial and industrial applications, etc up to such and such BTU's and/or appliance vent types. 'A' Gas Fitters are certified to work on everything and are usually used for exceptional systems with huge load requirements and industrial type stuff. I'm told the 'A' Gas ticket exam has a 50% failure rate and requires a lot of math/formula knowledge and quite a bit of night school if you want to take it, but I'm told A Gas fitters can make huge $$$ and there's not all that many of them where I live.

    The Apprenticeship system in Canada works very similarly like I described above for almost all trades. A good portion of the trades out there in Canada are InterProvincial Red Seal trades such as Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, Sprinklerfitting, etc. (and some of the not so common ones too, believe it or not).

    When I was in school last, the president of the school I went to said that Americans view our apprenticeship system as an equivilent to an Undergraduate degree, and he has countless stories of Canadians getting Head Hunted to move down to the USA because of our what he words it as superior apprenticeship program.

    In some respects I like the structure that comes with the schooling and apprenticeship I have experienced plus the 2 tickets I carry in my wallet which I am proud of, but at the same time you don't need to be a brain surgeon to get a PLumbing and/or gas ticket in Canada. You really just need to show up to work on time, have a good attitude, work hard, show up to school on time, do your homework, and have half a brain and you're good to go. And at the end of the day you can have all the schooling you want but it really comes down to what kind of person you are as well. If you have hands on type skills and you learn quickly, or management type skills, and hopefully a bit of both, combined with some professionalism; the best plumbers are definately not the guys who got the best marks in school in a lot of cases.

    I'm curious how it works for you guys? I've heard/read some inklings but I'd like to hear the whole story.

  • #2
    Re: Plumbing education?

    i wonder if the headhunted plumbers you spoke of were credited at par when they went south? i always thought the apprentiship in wash state was 8000 hours required to journey out.....

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    • #3
      Re: Plumbing education?

      Originally posted by Scott K View Post
      I'm curious if you could tell me how your certification/plumbing education works where you live?

      In Canada, how it works is we have a 4 year apprenticeship program for the trade of plumbing. You do four school sessions, combined with on the job training as an Apprentice. The first 3 school sessions are 5-6 weeks long, and the last school session is 7-8 weeks long (depends on which school you go to in your area). The Trade of plumbing, because it is so interrelated with gas fitting in a lot of cases, also gives you your Gasfitter certification ('B' Gas Ticket). In your last (4th) session of school you write your Plumbing ticket exam, and your 'B' Gas ticket exam. If you pass both, then once you complete your 5700 hours of on the job training, you get your PLumbing Ticket, and Gas Ticket.
      .

      Not the same for me. We have 4 eight week school sessions, that covers gas over the 4 years. Also the b ticket is good to fire up to 400 000 btuh appliances (you can work on them with the B ticket, just not fire them)
      West Trail Mechanical Ltd
      Service. Commitment. Expertise.

      www.westtrailmechanical.ca

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      • #4
        Re: Plumbing education?

        Where I live here are the regulations/limitations on my gas ticket:

        2) A class B gas fitter certificate of qualification entitles the holder to perform the installation or alteration of the following gas systems under an appropriate permit:

        (a) fan assisted appliances or natural draft appliances which bear the certification mark of an approved testing agency; (note it doesn't say anything about BTU limitations)

        (b) other appliances and vents up to and including 220 kW (750,000 BTU's);

        (c) piping and atmospheric vents.

        Class A or B gas fitter may do limited electrical work
        8 The holder of a class A or class B gas fitter's certificate of qualification may, while employed by a licensed gas contractor or working under an operating permit, perform electrical work that is restricted to the installation, repair and maintenance of electrical wiring for solid, liquid and gaseous-fuel-fired heating equipment for any of the following:

        (a) connecting branch circuit wiring to the heating equipment integral connection box from a junction box or disconnect mounted in close proximity to the heating equipment;

        (b) class 2 circuit wiring up to a rated output of 100 volt amps;

        (c) low voltage controls or 24 volt thermostats;

        (d) 3 phase motors or controllers integral to the heating equipment.

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        • #5
          Re: Plumbing education?

          The way I learned was being a helper in multiple shops so that I could learn all phases, and I am still learning for that matter

          We do have trade schools in NYS , but I never went to any

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          • #6
            Re: Plumbing education?

            Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
            The way I learned was being a helper in multiple shops so that I could learn all phases, and I am still learning for that matter We do have trade schools in NYS , but I never went to any
            Interesting that the process is so different in different locations.
            PlumbingSkool do you know how long the trade school education takes where you are living?

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            • #7
              Re: Plumbing education?

              600 hrs apprentice school and 8000 hrs OJT.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Plumbing education?

                I started my apprenticeship in 1996 at Camosun College in Victoria BC. I followed the work to Calgary and never left. My first year in BC wasn't recognized in Alberta and so I spent 9 years on the curbside of the trade by Drain Cleaning. I had hard time justifying taking such a huge paycut to become an apprentice so I stuck with cleaning drains. 4 years ago I decided to finally go for it. 4 years apprenticeship, 8weeks each year. Today I wrote my red seal, which seemed easier to write then my Alberta B class gas or Alberta plumbers, which I wrote earlier this week.

                I understand our red seal is recognized in Australia and Florida. It's not recognized in Quebec or Boston.

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                • #9
                  Re: Plumbing education?

                  I think our state requires 4 or 5 years of being an apprentice. School is not required of any kind that I know of(may have that wrong), and we have no requirements to work on Gas.

                  With that said, I went to a 4 year school during my journeyman, and waited a year before taking the Masters test.

                  Regarding gas, I got that training by going to classes when I was a volunteer fireman. Our local gas company has classes in where they set things on fire using natural gas, and we have to put them out..which was pretty neat. The rest I learned in fire school which was long and a b*tch to get through.

                  School is excellent for theory but terrible for actual real life experiences. Like most Plumbers, I learned everything I've aquired out in the field.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Plumbing education?

                    It's been a while but I'm pretty sure it's still so many hours as an apprentice, so many hours as a journeyman before you can test for your Master License around here.
                    I do know though that Minnesota does not recognize anyone from Canada or most any other state or country other than the Dakota's and maybe Wisconsin so there won't be any head hunting here. If you move here you will have to start all over again now days. I was licensed in California for over 16 years having my C36 license. When I moved back to Minnesota they did not recognize California, PIZZZZED ME OFFF BIG TIME! Lucky for me they had what was called a restricted Master license that I got but could only work in towns of 5000 population or less for a number of years before I qualified to take my Masters test here. It didn't matter to me since my area is all about smaller towns for the most part. Most people I talk to it was all about the unions because of that old rule.

                    Funny though when I was working under the restricted license I could plumb a million dollar house on the lake around here but couldn't drive a half hour and install a toilet in a larger town near me. Thank God those days are over. Minnesota is very strict and I do feel grateful to have a Master license here now after all I went though to get it.

                    Take pride in your license, take pride in your work! Oh and thank God it's Friday! LOL
                    Minnesota no longer has these old rules, I got in just in the nick of time before they changed it. Otherwise I might have had to move back to California!!!!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Plumbing education?

                      Originally posted by ironranger View Post
                      If you move here you will have to start all over again now days. I was licensed in California for over 16 years having my C36 license. When I moved back to Minnesota they did not recognize California, PIZZZZED ME OFFF BIG TIME! Lucky for me they had what was called a restricted Master license that I got but could only work in towns of 5000 population or less for a number of years before I qualified to take my Masters test here. It didn't matter to me since my area is all about smaller towns for the most part. Most people I talk to it was all about the unions because of that old rule.

                      Funny though when I was working under the restricted license I could plumb a million dollar house on the lake around here but couldn't drive a half hour and install a toilet in a larger town near me. Thank God those days are over. Minnesota is very strict and I do feel grateful to have a Master license here now after all I went though to get it.:
                      This is what pisses me off about the States. If you're a Licensed Master Plumber in the United States, You should be allowed to work anywhere...PERIOD! All these Plumbing codes are extremely similar anyways, so what's the big freaking deal? Philadelphia for instance..acts like they have special Plumbing in their city, and they don't care if you have been Plumbing for 70 years..you need to take THEIR test! It's all about money and control...I'm totally against denying a fellow Plumber the opportunity to work because he hasn't taken our tests.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Plumbing education?

                        here is my take on it. at least this is how it's in calif.

                        50% of the contractors test is based on business law. same test for any contractor trade here. the other 50% is based on your actual trade.

                        so therefore even though we might know all there is to the trade. each state has different business laws.

                        rick.
                        phoebe it is

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                        • #13
                          Re: Plumbing education?

                          There are no business questions on our state exam.

                          It's all about the MONEY! that's why licenses are not portable, well that and if a state's economy is booming they don't want hoards of tradesmen coming in
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Plumbing education?

                            Jersey has business law on their tests.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Plumbing education?

                              Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                              There are no business questions on our state exam.

                              It's all about the MONEY! that's why licenses are not portable, well that and if a state's economy is booming they don't want hoards of tradesmen coming in
                              No business questions on our Master or Journeyman's test either, it's all plumbing. I have to say that when I took the Ca. test I studied for about two days when I was young and passed it with flying colors. When I found out what was on our test here in Minnesota I about chit a brick. The biggest part of our test is sizing a five story commercial building, figuring out fixture units and sizing your water and waste correctly. It also included another building for sizing water run off etc.,. It wasn't easy and unless you know how to size water, drain, waste and vent as per fixture units you will not pass it. Our passing rate is very low. I took a three weekend course and was lucky to have a terrific teacher that knew his chit, without him I would have never passed it being a plumber in Ca. previously for 16 years.

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