So, it’s been three years since my son Paul started Anchor Plumbing Services. Tons has happened and I retired last year from 41 years civil service to help him full time. I’ve learned so much that I could write everyday now. It was hard to decide where to start but I’ll start by telling you what it takes to be a plumber in the State of Texas.
These guys are awesome - because they have to be. You let them into your homes, and you trust them with the health and safety of your family.
In Texas, plumbing is regulated by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE). These folks set the standards by which a person becomes a licensed plumber and that means some aspiring plumbers don’t make the grade.
First a person must apply to the TSPBE to get an Apprentice License. While this is the easiest license to obtain, there are still very strict rules about any serious criminal activity which could result in not getting a license. At Anchor Plumbing Services we take your safety seriously and make sure our plumbers meet this standard.
With an Apprentice License, they work under the supervision of a Master Plumber learning their trade. It will take 4000 hours of on-the-job work and specific training courses approved by the TSPBE before they can apply to take a test for a Tradesman License. When an apprentice is ready, the TSPBE will schedule them for a written and hands-on test in Austin. As evident by our staff returning from taking the tests with short nails, the test is a real nail biter! Once an apprentice passes the test, they become a licensed Plumber in the State of Texas and must be renewed each year.
We just went through this with my grandson Dakota. It was worse than studying for the SATs and he even Dakota's Tradesman License Celebration attended an extra prep class. On top of the pressures preparing for the test, he had the added pressure of trying not to disappoint his Dad even though we told him “no pressure” or “just do your best”—it is just the way he works, always trying his best. His father and I were online with TSBPE refreshing the screen every 30 seconds to see if he passed his test. We go through this again next summer with the other grandson! Oh yeah, he passed - the video taken of that moment is awesome--you can laugh out loud for real like I did! This is better than that baby-in-the-bathtub picture parents keep for teenage bribery. [watch video]
Tradesman Plumbers continue their progression to the next level by working another 4000 hours on the job before they can apply for their Journeyman license. It’s a “rinse and repeat” of the above scenario. Take the required courses, apply, test in Austin, and pray it all goes well.
A Journeyman must hold that license for 4 years before applying for a Master Plumber License. The tests get progressively harder and fewer and fewer folks make it to the next level, but once you become a Master Plumber, you have reached the pinnacle of your trade that from now on is further honed only through work experience and high work ethic.
A Master Plumber can also start their own business which requires yet another specialized course to get a Responsible Master Plumber License.
With each level up it is cause for great celebration with coworkers and within the greater plumbing community because they all know how hard it was to achieve those dreams.
As a homeowner or customer, you can ask to see their plumber’s license. You can also go online to TSBPE and find your plumber’s license.
The sitcoms have not been kind to this honorable trade and many a joke has been made at a plumber’s expense. Mike Rowe, a strong advocate for the trades and host of “Dirty Jobs” laments that “If you see a plumber on TV, he’s going to be 300 pounds with a giant butt crack”. We laugh all the same, but the day you realize you need a plumber it’s no longer a joke and we all experienced that relief when we heard those words that “we’re on our way to you” from the plumber you just called for that huge leak. In any event, I just thought you should know that these guys didn’t just learn how to turn a wrench but worked and studied hard to be the best they can be at what they do. They are trained professionals.
As I was sharing with Paul what I had written here, he told me that more and more, they have to “break down a wall” of distrust with new customers caused by past experiences with disreputable companies that resulted in a bad impression of plumbers and the trades in general. Clearly, licensing and training are not the only elements that makes a plumber successful, but also fully standing behind any work done and making sure a customer is always satisfied are steps in the right direction.
Rest assured that the State of Texas and the awesome team at Anchor Plumbing Services has your back with trained and licensed plumbers you can trust and depend on to fix any plumbing problem.
The Plumber’s Mother
“We have this hope as an Anchor for the soul” Hebrews 6:19