Blog Post

A Day in the Life of a Union 486 Apprentice

By UA Local 486 | May 31, 2023

A day in the life of a UA (United Association) union plumber and steamfitter apprentice can be challenging yet rewarding. When you are a part of the apprenticeship program, you will get to know exactly what it’s like to work in the field. During your apprenticeship, you will work 8 hours a day and will be required to attend evening school two nights a week. This not only ensures students have the opportunity to learn all the skills but it prepares them for what the workforce really is like. 

Just like a career in the field, no two days are the same and no two workers may have the same schedule. We wanted to help you see what a day in the life of a union apprentice would look like, but keep in mind that every day may look different. 

Here is a general overview of what a typical day might look like:

6:00 AM – Start your work day. Your day will begin with a review of the day’s tasks and assignments for the day. Apprentices usually start their workday early in the morning. 

7:00 AM – Arrive at the job site and meet with the journeyman plumber or steamfitter they are working with. Apprentices work alongside skilled journeymen to learn the trade and gain hands-on experience.

7:30 AM – Review the day’s tasks with the journeyman and receive instructions on what needs to be done. This could involve installing, repairing, or maintaining plumbing or steamfitting systems in a commercial or industrial building.

8:00 AM – Begin working on the assigned tasks. Apprentices typically start by doing simple tasks such as cutting and measuring pipes or helping to install fixtures.

12:00 PM – Take a lunch break. Many job sites can have a designated area for workers to take their breaks.

1:00 PM – Resume work on the assigned tasks. Apprentices may be given more complex tasks as they gain experience and knowledge of the trade.

3:00 PM – Finish the day’s work and clean up the job site. This could involve putting away tools, sweeping, and disposing of waste materials. Head back to the school, to relax, chat, connect with a teacher before class, or grab a bite to eat.

5:00 PM – Attend apprenticeship classes. Apprentices are required to attend classes 2 nights a week and 1 Saturday a month in addition to working on the job site. These classes provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to advance in their careers.

8:00 PM – Finish class and end your day. Before heading home, it’s a good idea to review what was learned during the day. This could involve reviewing notes, studying for exams, or practicing new skills.

Overall, the life of a UA union plumber and steamfitter apprentice can be physically demanding and require long hours. However, it can also be a rewarding career that offers job stability, good pay, and opportunities for advancement.

The biggest benefit to this type of schedule is that there are no surprises when students enter the workforce. When you complete the apprenticeship program you will have had 5 years of real career experience and a brighter future.