Plumbers and pipe fitters install, remove, maintain, repair, and modify plumbing systems using pipes of various materials and many types of fixtures. Plumbing systems include sanitary drainage, storm drainage, special waste handling, public and private water supply, gas piping in or adjacent to buildings, piping for air conditioning and refrigeration, medical piping in hospitals and clinics, and piping for industrial processes.

Apprentices train in one of three categories: plumbing, steam fitting – pipe fitting, or heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration service. In general, the plumbing category includes waste, ventilation, and water supply work, and the pipe fitter category includes steam and boiler work. Each skill requires learning a vast body of specific knowledge.


  • Completion takes a minimum of five years, broken down into ten periods.
  • You will receive paid on-the-job training.
  • Two nights per week of Related and Supplemental Instructional Classes in the evening (unpaid).

Starting hourly wage:

  • As of July 13, 2016, it is currently either $23.12 per hour or $27.20 per hour, depending on your work assignment.
  • Health care coverage (medical, dental, vision care, etc.) is included for you and your dependents.
  • As of July 13, 2016, Journeyman wage is currently $57.80 per hour or $68.00 per hour, depending on your work assignment.

Requirements for application:

  • No previous experience necessary to enter the program.
  • Must be 17 years of age (18 years to become indentured).
  • A valid California driver's license or birth certificate.
  • Must be a high school graduate with diploma or its equivalent. Must bring original diploma or G.E.D. paperwork when applying.
  • Must be able to perform the physical requirements of the trade.

Application availability:

  • Applications will be available sometime in June 2018. Exact dates for the application period are determined 30 to 45 days prior.
  • To find out exact dates of the application period, either check online at or call the Apprenticeship Department at (415) 562-3838.
  • You may fill out your contact information on the postcard portion of the Apprenticeship Brochure and return it to our office. Then, before the application period arises, you will receive notification by mail informing you of the dates.

After submission of application:

  • You will be required to take a written examination consisting of basic mathematics and basic mechanical reasoning. If you pass this portion with a 70% or higher you will be asked to come back for an oral interview.
  • No study guide for the exam is provided. You may go to your local library and review basic mathematics books.

Eligibility List:

  • If you receive passing scores on both the written test and oral interview, you will be placed on a ranked and rated eligibility list (highest score down) for possible call-up when new apprentices are to be taken into the program. This list is active for two (2) years. Potential call into the program will be based on industry needs.
  • You are not guaranteed a spot in the program in you are placed on the Eligibility List. Employment or acceptance into the program is not guaranteed based on submission of an application and/or placement on the Eligibility List.

If your name is not called from the Eligibility List:

  • The list will expire after two (2) years. If your name has not been called you will be notified by mail that the list will expire. If you are interested, you must submit a new application. You will be required to complete the testing procedures and receive passing scores in order to be placed on the new Eligibility List.

Training centers are located at:
United Association Local 38 Apprenticeship Training Program
2660 Newhall St.
San Francisco, CA 94124

and at:
United Association Local 38 Apprenticeship Training Program
3473 Santa Rosa Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95407


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