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Jobs, jobs, jobs: Everything you need to know about becoming a professional plumber

A PLUMBER. | Pixabay

A PLUMBER. | Pixabay

Published May 24, 2022


Durban - A plumber is a tradesperson who installs, repairs, and maintains the functioning of water systems in residential or commercial buildings.

History has it that the term plumber is derived from the Latin word Plumbus meaning lead, with Romans being the first to reportedly make water channels with the metal.

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TVET colleges or private trade schools typically offer short or introductory courses on plumbing that range from a week to two months, as well as advanced training.

For the basic courses you need to be at least 16 years old and have passed Grade 9.

You can also go for a National Certificate Vocational (NCV) in plumbing. This is a three-year qualification that has been offered at FET Colleges since January 2007.

It is offered at Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the National Qualifications Framework, which are equivalent to Grades 10, 11 and 12.

To become a fully qualified plumber, students are required to take the industry Trade Test and subsequently register with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB).

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An apprenticeship is a programme in which someone learns a trade by working under a certified expert.

According to the PIRB, this is the second route you can take to become a plumber, and lasts a minimum of three years.

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To become an apprentice you need to have Grade 9 with mathematics, and be at least 16 years old.


According to Payscale, the average pay for a plumber is R46.42 per hour or R124 000 a year. An apprentice plumber is expected to earn on average R23.90 an hour or R70 750 per year.

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