How to become a plumber in South Africa

Plumbing is a profession that involves the installation and maintenance of pipes, fixtures, and other plumbing systems that convey water, gas, and waste. Becoming a plumber in South Africa is a great career choice, as it offers job security and a high earning potential. In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in becoming a plumber in South Africa.

How much can I earn as a plumber in South Africa?

The earning potential for plumbers in South Africa can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and qualifications. According to PayScale, the average salary for a plumber in South Africa is approximately R99,000 per year.

However, experienced plumbers with additional qualifications such as a gas installation certificate can earn up to R450,000 per year.

Plumbing contractors who run their own businesses can earn even more, with some earning up to R1,000,000 per year.

It is important to note that these figures are just averages, and actual earnings may vary depending on individual circumstances.

Step 1: Complete a High School Education

The first step in becoming a plumber in South Africa is to complete a high school education. A high school education is necessary to understand basic mathematical concepts, including geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. These skills are essential for reading and interpreting plumbing blueprints and calculating pipe sizes.

Step 2: Obtain a Plumbing Certificate

To become a plumber in South Africa, you need to obtain a plumbing certificate from a recognized training institution. These training institutions offer plumbing courses that cover the theoretical and practical aspects of plumbing. The courses usually take six months to two years to complete.

Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

Once you have obtained your plumbing certificate, you need to gain practical experience in the plumbing industry. You can gain practical experience by working as an apprentice plumber for a registered plumbing company. During your apprenticeship, you will work under the supervision of a qualified plumber, and you will learn how to install and maintain plumbing systems.

Step 4: Register as a Plumber

After completing your apprenticeship, you need to register as a plumber with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB). The PIRB is a statutory body that regulates the plumbing industry in South Africa. To register as a plumber, you need to provide proof of your plumbing qualification and practical experience. Once you are registered, you will receive a PIRB registration number that you can use to advertise your plumbing services.

Step 5: Obtain Plumbing Insurance

As a registered plumber in South Africa, you need to obtain plumbing insurance. Plumbing insurance protects you and your clients against any damage or injury that may occur during plumbing work. You can obtain plumbing insurance from any reputable insurance company.

Step 6: Advertise Your Plumbing Services

Once you are registered as a plumber and have obtained plumbing insurance, you need to advertise your plumbing services. You can advertise your plumbing services through various channels, including newspapers, social media, and online classifieds. You can also create a website to showcase your plumbing services and provide clients with a way to contact you.

Step 7: Continuously Upgrade Your Skills

To stay competitive in the plumbing industry, you need to continuously upgrade your skills. You can upgrade your skills by attending plumbing conferences, workshops, and seminars. You can also obtain additional plumbing certifications, such as a gas installation certificate, which will allow you to install gas plumbing systems.


Becoming a plumber in South Africa requires a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. It is a rewarding career choice that offers job security and a high earning potential. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can become a registered plumber in South Africa and start your own plumbing business.

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