TSTC program aims for more plumbers

Technical college system partners with Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners for testing

Staff report
Texas State Technical College is partnering with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners to provide a greater and more efficient method of certification testing for Texas plumbers.

AUSTIN — Texas State Technical College and the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners have joined forces to provide a greater and more efficient method of administering exams for Texas plumbers.

Last February's winter storm had devastating consequences for tens of thousands of Texans across the state. Many lost power, were without access to clean water, and had frozen and ruptured water pipes as the state experienced historically low temperatures. The crippling storm underscored the value of plumbers and exacerbated the shortage of these skilled craftsmen in a state that is rapidly growing.

“From my first meeting with Chancellor Reeser, it was clear to both of us (that) our goals and objectives are the same: increase the number of licensed plumbers in the state to meet the robust demand of the Texas economy,” said Frank S. Denton, TSBPE board chair.  

TSTC and TSBPE have partnered, as two state agencies, to streamline and refine TSTC’s existing plumbing curriculum. Together, they will develop a TSBPE board-approved program that will be available to any educational institution that would like to implement it. 

The program includes both intense and focused classroom and hands-on lab training. Upon successful program completion, the student will become eligible to sit for the Tradesman Plumber-Limited License exam.

“TSTC is the only statewide public college in Texas, so it makes sense that we partner with the Plumbing Board to provide resources across the state that fulfill the growing demand for professional plumbers,” said TSTC Chancellor and CEO Mike Reeser. “TSTC has already invested substantial funds in this new joint effort and, thanks to the extraordinary and innovative partnership with the board, will dedicate still more to solve this statewide workforce shortage during the years ahead.”

​In addition, TSTC in Waco is building out a new high-tech practical examination center that will provide qualified statewide applicants with the opportunity to sit for the plumbing exam, which will be administered by TSBPE personnel. Construction on the new testing center is projected to be completed in January 2022.

Another testing center will break ground soon on TSTC’s Harlingen campus as well.

“These new testing centers will double and eventually triple TSBPE’s ability to test applicants wishing to obtain a plumbing license,” said Denton. “This is something that could not have been done without the cooperation and assistance of TSTC.”

In Texas, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters can earn more than $50,000 annually, according to onetonline.org. Job growth is projected to be around 17 percent by 2028.

TSTC in Waco offers a certificate of completion in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology, as well as an occupational skills award in Basic Plumbing.

“As a result of this new partnership, TSTC intends to expand its plumbing training to other campuses across the state,” Reeser said.

For more than 55 years, TSTC has been focused on advancing the economic development of the state with an emphasis on placing more Texans in great-paying jobs. By offering hands-on training, TSTC ensures that Texas has a pipeline for skilled technicians to enter the workforce in high-demand industries like plumbing.

For more information about the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, visit tsbpe.texas.gov.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.