Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of seven Instruction Sets designed to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you'll use in your new career.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted. Other Instruction Sets will follow as you complete your exams, so that you will always have learning materials to work with. Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: The Plumber Career Diploma program provides students with comprehensive and modern training to begin a career in plumbing. Students learn how to read blueprints and select and install piping and plumbing fixtures. They also learn the basic codes, regulations, and standards that plumbers encounter. Understand the construction industry: the trades that compose it, tasks performed, skills needed, and its safe work practices.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the skills needed to use plumbing tools on the common types of plumbing and piping systems, as well as the applicable codes, standards, and licensing procedures
  • Know how to select and use the proper tools for various tasks, perform computations, interpret architectural drawings, disinfect water, use plumbing valves and meters, and differentiate the installation procedures for the types of heating systems
  • Understand the basics of plumbing system design, calculating required pipe lengths and system dimensions, scheduling work, installing DWV and supply piping, system testing, and doing finish work
  • Understand the equipment and methods for working with specialized plumbing systems, doing service work, and performing calculations
  • Know how to remove old fixtures, choose and install new fixtures, and repair fixtures
  • Understand the fundamentals of drawings and fluid-power diagrams and the assembly of piping and accessories
  • Identify the local, state, and national codes required for compliance in the design, installation, and repair of plumbing systems

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages; access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers; and connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

Introduction to the Building Trades
Careers in the building trade; general employment trends.

The Trades of Plumbing and Pipe-Fitting
Plumbing and pipe-fitting; basic regulations, codes, and standards; licensing and certification; interpreting construction drawings and specifications.

Plumbing and Pipe-Fitting Tools
Job and tool safety; identifying and using tools for layout; pipe-joint assembly, finishing, testing, and maintenance.

Instruction Set 2

Plumbing Fittings
Patterns of fittings; mathematical skills used in plumbing; calculating pipe sizes; how to install, test, and repair gas piping systems.

Waste Systems for Plumbers, Part 1
Disposal systems; biological and chemical actions; function and construction of sewers and sewer laterals; determining the grade of a drain.

Waste Systems for Plumbers, Part 2
Functions, types, and locations of main house traps; function of fresh air inlets; branches, waste stacks, and vent stacks; installing rain leaders; testing a drainage system.

Waste Systems for Plumbers, Part 3
Cast-iron pipes and fittings; cutting cast-iron soil pipe; using plastic pipe; installing bathroom fixture supports.

Practical Exercise 1: Student Design Projects #1 and #2

Textbook: Plumbing Technology: Design and Installation

Instruction Set 3

Plumbing Math: Pipe Length Calculations, Part 1
Formulas and equations; determining pipe weights, clearances, and fitting allowances; plumbing math terms.

Water Supply Systems
Water treatment; tools used on water supply systems; water pressure and hydrostatic pressure; basement water mains; pressure-reducing valves.

Heating Water
Installing circulating pipes; automatic gas water heaters and electric water heaters; thermostats; solar water heaters.

Plumbing Math: Pipe Length Calculations, Part 2
Pipe bending calculations; waste and vent loop layout; drop, grade, and run measurements; making miter cuts.

Textbook: Mathematics for Plumbing and Pipe-Fitters

Instruction Set 4

Plumbing Connections
Soldering; uses of copper tubing; precautions; welds used in plumbing.

Special Plumbing Systems
The SOVENT drainage system; the dangers of back siphonage; use of a sump pump; glass pipes and fittings; British Thermal Units (BTUs); processes of conduction, convection, and radiation.

Plumbing Math: Heating Applications
Calculating volume of cubes, cylinders, and spheres; understanding heat loss and how it relates to radiator size; ventilation principles and requirements for commercial buildings.

Practical Exercise 2: Connection Project

Learning Aid:
• Safety Goggles

Instruction Set 5

The home plumbing system; water supply system; drain-waste-vent (DWV) system; shutting off the water Plumbing Fixtures Toilets; faucets; drains and traps; dishwashers; food disposers; water heaters; showers and tubs; water softeners; icemakers; water filters; sinks Plumbing Installations Installation basics; plumbing routes; bathrooms; new gas lines Plumbing Repairs Toilet and sink repairs; leaky plumbing; noisy pipes.

Textbook: Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Plumbing

Instruction Set 6

Reading Piping Prints
Fundamental parts of a drawing; reading schematical drawings; diagramming fluid-power systems.

Practical Exercise 3: Working with Prints to Design a System

Learning Aid: Plumbing Print

Instruction Set 7

Understanding the National Standard Plumbing Code, Parts 1-5
Applying code standards; utilizing tabular data; using code terminology.

Practical Exercise 4: Evaluating a Design Using the Code Book

Textbook: National Standard Plumbing Code


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

You must have completed the 8th grade to enroll in this program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.