Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Now’s your chance to develop your skills as a plumber with the Penn Foster Career School Plumber Program. Did you know that plumbing jobs are expected to increase 21% in the coming years?* Work for a plumbing contractor, power plant, or water treatment center installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems, or start your own business.

Penn Foster will help you train at home or on the go, all at the pace that’s right for you. The Plumber Career Diploma Program provides the necessary hands-on training, tools, and learning aids to prepare you to be a professional plumber, including a plumbing project kit, pipe deburring tool, and the National Standard Plumbing Code. And, you can complete the program in as little as six months!

Curriculum Details

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to the Building Trades

In this lesson, you'll learn about the construction industry and the different trades that are a part of the industry. You'll also learn about the critical role of safe work practices in the construction industry.

Objectives:

  • Learn about career opportunities and demand for skilled workers.
  • Learn about professional organizations.
  • Address safety concerns.
  • List the licensing and certification requirements for individual building trades.

Unit 2

The Trades of Plumbing and Pipefitting

This lesson will teach you the codes and standards used in plumbing and pipefitting, as well as how drawings are used to represent building components and systems.

Objectives:

  • Get an overview of plumbing and pipefitting.
  • Learn about basic regulations, codes, and standards.
  • Learn about licensing and certification.
  • Explore how to interpret construction drawings and specifications.
Plumbing and Pipefitting Tools

In this lesson, you'll gain a thorough understanding of the tools of the trade, how to handle the tools properly, and how to use them in a safe and efficient manner.

Objectives:

  • Learn about job and tool safety.
  • Discover how to identify and use tools for layout, cutting, and boring.
  • Explore pipe-joint assembly, finishing, testing, and maintenance.

Unit 3

Modern Plumbing, Part 1

This lesson will teach you the fundamentals of plumbing, including safety, tools, drawings, and soldering.

Objectives:

  • Explore the safe working habits plumbers should follow.
  • Compute pipe offsets, pipe slopes, and the volume and area of various objects.
  • Prepare two- and three-dimensional piping sketches.
  • Read about soldering and welding pipe and fittings.
  • Explore water supply and fixtures.
  • Familiarize yourself with fittings, valves, and water heaters.
Practical Exercise 1

In this exercise, you’ll complete some suggested activities that will increase your knowledge of plumbing drawings, codes, and fittings. You’ll get practice applying plumbing skills through various work scenarios and illustrations.

Additional Unit Material

Textbook: Modern Plumbing

Unit 4

Modern Plumbing, Part 2

This lesson covers plumbing system design. You'll study minimum requirements for locating fixtures in typical installations, how to locate and calculate the proper size for the drain piping, and planning the vent system.

Objectives:

  • Study plumbing-system design and learn the techniques for working with plastic, copper, galvanized-iron, and cast-iron materials.
  • Explore the drain, waste, and vent (DWV) system.
  • Outline the proper process for installing a hot-water heater.
  • Demonstrate proper installation of fixtures and faucets.
Math for Plumbers and Pipefitters, Part 1

This lesson explains how pipe lengths are calculated when working with a variety of pipe materials and fitting types. You'll also learn to work with pipe and fitting charts, which list all the important dimensions for almost every type of fitting.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to determine the pipe lengths required to assemble piping systems.
  • Learn formulas and equations.
  • Read about determining pipe weights, clearances, and fitting allowances.
  • Familiarize yourself with plumbing math terms.
Additional Unit Material

Textbook: Mathematics for Plumbers and Pipefitters

Unit 5

Modern Plumbing, Part 3

This lesson introduces several specialized aspects of plumbing, including service work and repair. You'll study septic systems, which play an invaluable role in water recycling, as well as systems for handling storm water. You'll also study HVAC systems, pools and spas, and irrigation systems:

Objectives:

  • Learn about the construction and operation of a simple septic system.
  • Explore alternative waste systems.
  • Recognize the basic components of swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas.
  • Outline the basic operating principles of sprinkler and irrigation systems.
  • Learn how to solve common plumbing problems and troubleshoot breakdowns in fixtures.
Math for Plumbers and Pipefitters, Part 2

This lesson describes the steps required to lay out sheet metal objects. It explains how to properly determine the amount of water in any container, find the weight of the contained water, and even calculate the pressure that results from the collected water. You'll also learn how to size heating systems to match the needs of a particular installation and how to size the components within the system.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to calculate the volume of cubes, cylinders, spheres, and partly filled tanks.
  • Explain the concepts of force and pressure as they relate to water.
  • Calculate pipe carrying capacities and examine the “units of flow” method of pipe sizing.
  • Understand heat loss and how it relates to radiator size.
Practical Exercise 2

This practical exercise will help you apply your knowledge of plumbing technology and water-supply systems to some real-life examples.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Pipe Deburring Tool
  • Safety Goggles
  • Plumbing Project Kit

Unit 6

Finish Plumbing Work

This lesson discusses installation and repair of residential plumbing.

Objectives:

  • Understand the functioning of a residential plumbing system.
  • Learn how to install and repair a variety of faucets.
  • Troubleshoot common toilet problems.
  • Explore repairing and replacing gas and electric water heaters.
  • Study how to design and do the rough and finish plumbing associated with installing a new bathroom.
  • Examine basement and outdoor plumbing.
Additional Unit Material

Textbook: Stanley Complete Plumbing

Unit 7

Reading Piping Prints

This lesson will teach you how to read piping drawings. You'll learn to understand dimensions, symbols, and abbreviations, distinguish different types of valves, and read fluid-power diagrams.

Objectives:

  • Explore the fundamental parts of a drawing.
  • Learn about reading schematical drawings.
  • Read about diagramming fluid-power systems.
Practical Exercise 3

In this practical exercise, you'll get practice in reading and interpreting plumbing drawings and plans.

Unit 8

National Standard Plumbing Code

In this course, you'll learn the National Standard Plumbing Code, a collection of regulations determining the minimum safe and sanitary standard required in the design, installation, and repair of plumbing systems. As a plumbing professional, you're obligated to perform your services in complete compliance with all local, state, and national codes. 

Objectives:

  • Evaluate the National Standard Plumbing Code (NSPC).
  • Read about applying code standards.
  • Understand how to utilize tabular data.
  • Learn about using code terminology.
Practical Exercise 4

This practical exercise will increase your understanding of the National Standard Plumbing Code (NSPC). You'll be presented with real-world situations so you can learn to use the code to your best advantage.

Additional Unit Material

Textbook: National Standard Plumbing Code


Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Plumber sample lesson, click here.

Plumber Career Diploma Program Details

Penn Foster will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need as a plumber:

  • Assemble, install, test, and maintain plumbing systems
  • Repair and maintain water heating systems
  • Install and troubleshoot the plumbing for dishwashers and other appliances

Please review your state board requirements that are applicable to your field of study. State boards may impose a variety of different requirements. These requirements vary from state to state.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, on the Internet here (visited February 5, 2014).

Plumbers install water supply, waste, and heating systems, repair pipe-fittings and fixtures, and make sure buildings follow the National Standard Plumbing Code. Here are a few qualities that effective plumbers have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Problem solver: Finding the missing piece can be challenging and rewarding.
  • Independent: You create your own schedule with little or no supervision.
  • Persistent: You work until the job is done, and done well.
  • Honest: You are ethical in your work for customers.

I graduated from the Carpenter, Home Inspector, Residential Electrician, HVAC Technician, Plumber, and Landscaping Technology Programs. They are all excellent programs! Penn Foster programs are great!

- Alfred P., Plumber Graduate

I have worked in the mechanical construction field for 30 years and always wanted some formal training, but found little available outside of union apprenticeship programs. Penn Foster's Plumber Program gave me the organized instruction I was looking for.

- Richard M., Plumber Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids, including National Standard Plumbing Code, Stanley Complete Plumbing, Mathematics for Plumbers and Pipefitters, Modern Plumbing, a plumbing project kit, and a pipe deburring tool
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Plumber academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Does Penn Foster provide any equipment for the Plumber Career Diploma Program?

Yes, you will receive safety goggles, a pipe deburring tool, and a plumbing connection project kit for your program.

What are the job opportunities for those trained in plumbing?

There are quite a few opportunities for plumbers.
• Work for yourself or for a contractor
• State, federal, or local government
• Hotels or apartment complexes
• Modular and mobile home manufacturers
• Major industrial businesses, such as power plants, water treatment plants, and factories

More FAQs >

Find us on Google+