When consumers call a plumber, typically a journeyman is the one who comes out to fix the pipes. Sometimes a plumber’s apprentice also comes out. So this rule change affects everyone.
Despite dropping the requirement for a high school diploma, Texas still requires applicants to have 8,000 hours of experience under the supervision of a master plumber before they can sit for the journeyman plumber exam.
Journeymen can tackle most plumbing jobs, including those involving natural gas lines. Because a plumbers’ job description covers anything involving pipes, they install, test and certify gas lines before the gas company turns on the fuel.
As homes and businesses have become increasingly more high tech and complex, some plumbers have raised concerns that reducing educational requirements could negatively impact the future of plumbing and the profession’s reputation.
“What this will create is a path to prison,” said Jeff LaBroski, a member of Plumbers Local 68, the union for the Texas Gulf Coast. LaBroski was discussing the education requirements at a recent meeting of the licensing board.
He rhetorically asked the members of the board why someone would pursue a high school diploma or GED when they could just “drop out and become a plumber’s apprentice.”
“I think it’s something that the board should reconsider and put back into the rules,” LaBroski said.
This rule change, while not in statute, is another development in the rollercoaster the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is riding this year.
At the end of the past legislative session, there was a dustup with extending the life of the licensing board leading to an impending abolition of the board. The plumbers rallied and then, Gov. Abbott extended the board for another two years by executive order.