July 11, 2017
The Accelerated Plumbing Certificate Technology program at Santa Fe College is doing its part to provide the plumbing industry with able workers to meet the tremendous need for skilled plumbers in North Central Florida, the rest of the state and the nation.
The 11-month program trains students in the fundamentals of plumbing, beginning with lessons about the history of plumbing, said Robert Brown, the professor who teaches the class, which is held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the Charles R. Perry Construction Institute at SF College.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
“They first learn the technical, science and math part of the industry before moving on to the hands-on part of the industry,” said Brown, who has been involved in the plumbing industry for almost 50 years.
Brown has been the instructor of the plumbing apprenticeship program at SF College for 17 years and has been the instructor of the accelerated program since it was established several years ago.
According to Brown, plumbing industry experts say hundreds of qualified plumbers are needed in North Central Florida, at least 8,000 in Florida and approximately 80,000 nationwide.
The program costs about $3,300. Registration is ongoing for the next class that begins in August, Brown said. Those interested in enrolling in the program must have a high school diploma or GED.
Tom Mason, the program’s academic advisor, said local plumbing contractors involved with the Celebration Pointe construction development in southwest Gainesville approached SF College several years ago about creating a program to help train people to become plumbers faster than normal.
The college has had a plumbing apprenticeship program for many years. It requires students to attend night classes twice a week during the fall and spring semesters for about four years, while also working with plumbing companies to get on-the-job training during the day.
The apprenticeship program is sponsored by the Builders Association of North Central Florida.