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How to become a licensed plumber in Australia

Modern plumbing is one of those cutting-edge innovations that has made contemporary living that much more convenient than it otherwise would be. Many such innovations, including plumbing, are now assumed – taken for granted and no longer admired for the technical marvels they truly are.

However, the complex plumbing systems that provide running water and gas on demand to entire cities and towns remain a thing of infrastructure beauty. Could you imagine the alternative? Having to schlep down to the closest waterway or water tank, fill your buckets, and oh so carefully lug them home without spilling any precious drops? No, neither could we.

Today, plumbing contractor services are so much more than they once were. They now extend to roofing, fire protection, mechanical services, gas services, and sanitation services, to name a few. If you want to complete a plumber course, gain a plumbing license, and become a licensed plumber, there’s never been a better time than now.

Licensed plumbers will tell you that plumbing is an essential service, and they’re not wrong. This makes becoming a plumber an attractive trade career path for anyone who is mechanically minded, a practical problem solver, and isn’t afraid of getting their hands dirty. If that sounds like you, there’s a good chance that you’ll find job satisfaction and a rewarding long-term career by becoming a licensed plumber.

Becoming a plumber: The two types of plumbing qualifications

To legally work as a licensed plumber in Australia, you must complete a four-year plumbing apprenticeship under the watchful eye of a licensed plumber and obtain a Certificate III in Plumbing from a nationally accredited training institute.

To become a fully licensed plumber and run your own plumbing business, you also need to complete the Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (Operations stream) plumber course.

  • Certificate III in Plumbing (General Plumber): The nationally accredited Certificate III in Plumbing (General Plumber) gives budding plumbers the skill set to become a trade qualified plumber or gasfitter. Completing this apprenticeship course designates you as a registered plumber. There are certain limitations that apply to registered plumbers, including having to be supervised by a licensed plumber and not having permission to issue compliance certificates.
  • Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services (Operations Stream): The nationally accredited Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (Operations Stream) is dedicated to helping plumbers and gas fitters expand their specialist skills in order to build their own plumbing business, move into plumbing management roles. Completing this course designates you as a licensed plumber. Importantly, when you attain your Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services you will be eligible to apply for your plumbing, drainage and gas fitting license, marking your transition to a fully licensed plumber.

Inside the Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services

The Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services (Operations Stream) offers convenient and flexible learning arrangements, including on campus and remote learning and part-time learning. It is also fully government-subsidised plumber course, is open to individuals currently completing a traineeship, and is available in every Australian state and territory.

This plumber course is strategically designed to help plumbers and gas fitters expand their specialist skills. So, on your path to completing your Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services (Operations Stream), what kind of things will you learn?

Through both practical learning and theory course work, you will learn how to:

  • Estimate and quote jobs.
  • Read and interpret plans and specifications.
  • Design sanitary and stormwater systems.
  • Read and interpret plans and specifications.
  • Design domestic treatment plant disposal systems.

This course also aims to foster specific traits that will put you in good standing to succeed as a licensed plumber, such as:

  • A sound work ethic.
  • The ability to work independently.
  • Good organisation and multi-tasking ability.
  • Working with their hands.
  • A desire for working both indoors and outdoors.
  • A passion for project work.

The intention is that once you complete their Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services you will be positioned to operate your own plumbing business, become a supervisor, and, most importantly apply for your plumbing, drainage and gas fitting license.

Following completion of the Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services (Operations Stream), some licensed plumbers pursue further qualifications, such as a Certificate IV in Plumbing And Services (Hydraulics) or a Diploma of Hydraulic Service Design.

An important reminder for aspiring plumbers in Victoria

Are you an aspiring licensed plumber in Victoria? Once licensed, do you plan on operating your licensed plumbing business within the state of Victoria? If so, it’s important to note that there are some specific plumber insurance requirements for licensed plumbers operating in Victoria.

As noted by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), all licensed plumbers must provide evidence to the VBA that they hold the relevant plumber insurance before the VBA will issue or renew a plumbing license. In fact, it is an offence to work as a licensed plumber without plumbers insurance cover in the required areas.

In Victoria, homeowners and renovators are protected from faulty building and plumbing work by the builder or the plumber on the job. If you intend to operate as a licensed plumber in Victoria, ensure that you are clearly aware of your plumbers insurance requirements in Victoria. The VBA doesn’t provide insurance advice, so seek independent advice from a reputable insurance expert before you commence trading. For more visit the Insurance for Victorian Plumbers page.

While you’re busy setting up your plumbing business, you don’t want any spanners thrown in the works when it comes to your business insurance* for plumbers. So let BizCover do the heavy lifting for you. We make finding and finalising your business insurance quicker than a flush. Go online for insurance for plumbers; if you’re based in Victoria, refer to our insurance for Victorian plumbers page, or give us a call 1300 920 864 to see how we can help protect your licensed plumbing business.

***This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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