It’s no secret anything built requiring running water also breaks down over time, said Chris Benton, who was hired to teach a new evening Plumbing Technician class for adults at Canadian Valley Technology Center.
Special skills needed for these endeavors require a superhero disguised as a mild-mannered plumber.
The class prepares adults for employability as apprentice technicians. It is the fastest track toward becoming a licensed plumber. Class begins March 25 at the school’s El Reno Campus. Hours are from 3:30 to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Students may choose to attend part-time, from 3:30 to 6:30 or from 7 to 10 p.m. Class length is 1,000 hours.
Students receive credit for two of the three years required to become licensed journeyman plumbers, Benton said. Graduates must spend a year in the industry under the guidance of a licensed contractor.
Benton said starting pay for apprentice plumbing technicians is between $15 and $20 per hour. Once licensure is obtained, pay can jump to between $30 and $35 per hour, he said. Many plumbers earn six-figure salaries, said Benton, who spent the past 14 years as a plumbing contractor. Pay variances depend on whether the work is new construction, residential repair or commercial repair.
Benton himself enrolled in a similar program at Moore-Norman Technology Center in 1990. One of his recent projects was to plumb the new Omni Hotel in Downtown Oklahoma City.
“The funny thing is that you never remember bad teachers,” he said, “But you remember the good ones. Among the four teachers who impacted my life, one was a plumbing teacher.
“My goal is that I can have good relationships with the students and turn out dependable, well-trained technicians, who are prepared to pass skills they learn on to the next generation.”
Modest industry growth is predicted through 2032, according to the U.S. Bu
reau of Labor Statistics. Plumbers install and repair water, gas and other piping systems in homes, businesses, and factories. This can include installation of plumbing fixtures, such as faucets, bathtubs and toilets. It could also include common household appliances, such as dishwashers and water heaters, according to BLS data.
Plumbers also clean drains and repair pipes and fixtures. Some also maintain septic systems, which are underground waste holding tanks in houses not connected to a sewer system. For more information, visit cvtech.edu or call (405) 262-2629.