Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of eight 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:

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: To provide students with comprehensive and modern training to begin a career in plumbing. Students study how to read blueprints and select and install piping and plumbing fixtures, as well as the basic codes, regulations, and standards that plumbers encounter.

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

  • Recognize basics of the construction industry: the trades that compose it, tasks performed, skills needed, and its safe work practices.
  • Consider the skills for using plumbing tools and the legal requirements for meeting inspections.
  • Analyze the tools and skills used for the installation, maintenance, and repair of plumbing and heating systems.
  • Organize plumbing responsibilities into appropriate stages for optimal workflow and effective design, installation, and maintenance.
  • Solve real-world problems by calculating accurate pipe lengths.
  • Solve inefficient systems by installing, maintaining, and repairing plumbing fixtures.
  • Explain the fundamentals of drawings and blueprints and the assembly of piping and accessories.
  • Consider the International Plumbing Code and how its requirements apply to different plumbing tasks.

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
In this course, you’ll develop the necessary skills to ensure your success in the program. Starting Your Program is designed to help you make a smooth transition to Penn Foster, including studying how to use all the tools and resources that are available to you, get help when you need it, understand the Code of Conduct, and improve your study skills and time management. The goal is to help you become a confident, independent learner.


  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner.

Introduction to Construction and Building Trades
This course introduces you to the various domains of the construction industry: carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, roofing, drywall work, general maintenance, and so on. You’ll study the differences between construction and building trades and residential and commercial construction. The duties and tasks of the construction and building trades professional are also explained in this course. Finally, you’ll examine the proper safety measures required in various areas of the construction industry. Securing a safe environment is crucial to ensuring individual workers’ safety.


  • Analyze the structure of work, safety measures, and fundamentals of the construction industry and building trades.

Instruction Set 2

Introduction to Plumbing and Pipe Fitting
Plumbers and pipe fitters work on piping systems that people rely on every day for sanitation and comfort. Piping systems provide buildings with fresh water and remove wastewater from these structures. Other systems carry gas or steam to power equipment or supply energy. You’ll identify the different features and purposes of these systems. For any system, all piping workers must follow state and local codes when installing or servicing any system. You’ll examine the types of construction drawings that each trades worker needs to read and interpret correctly. Because safety is essential in the piping trades, you’ll study the best work practices for using common construction tools and specialized piping tools.


  • Analyze the piping trades’ responsibilities and guiding procedures.
  • Categorize the types of plumbing and pipe-fitting tools and safety procedures for each.

Instruction Set 3

Fundamentals of Plumbing
This course covers the fundamental principles you’ll need to build a solid foundation as a plumber. This course starts with an introduction to safety, common plumbing tools and leveling instruments, and basic mathematics involved on the job. You’ll study certain aspects of plumbing work that come along with maintaining and installing different plumbing systems, including topics like hydraulics and pneumatics; how to rig and hoist using ropes and knots; and the procedures and equipment used in solder, brazing, welding, and excavating. Water supply and treatment, fixtures, and different piping materials and plumbing are also core components of the knowledge you’ll need to be a professional plumber.

  • Analyze the structure of the plumbing process, the safety measures involved, and the associated tools.
  • Categorize the various domains, codes, and responsibilities linked with plumbing.
  • Distinguish between the water supply fixtures and their materials that reduce water contamination.
  • Differentiate between the types of fittings, valves and heaters, and their installation methods.

Digital Textbook: Modern Plumbing

Instruction Set 4

Modern Plumbing
In this course, you’ll look at all the phases of plumbing systems that plumbers work with, from design and installation to repairs and remodeling. As a plumber, any jobs you take will revolve around pipes and fixtures. Your work will start with the planning and design of pipes and plumbing systems. Proper design that’s up to code and well-planned ensures the installation process can run smoothly. As a plumber, you’ll work with people across different trades areas in the design process, but once it’s time for pipe installation, it’s your responsibility to make sure all the appropriate measurements are taken, all the right materials are used, and that everything is done to code. This includes common DWV and water supply systems, but also special systems like pools, spas, or irrigation systems. Another big part of the job is making repairs and assisting in remodeling work.


  • Explain the phases and procedures involved in the design and installation of plumbing systems.
  • Summarize the installation procedures related to water supply system, DWV piping, fixtures, faucets, and appliances.
  • Explain the role of the plumber in the installation and maintenance of special plumbing installations.
  • Analyze common plumbing system issues to correctly diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair problems during service and remodeling jobs.

Instruction Set 5

Math for Plumbers
As a plumber, you’ll install pipes in settings that will require you to make precise calculations before cutting and installing the pipes. You’ll use math to measure, cut, and place pipes appropriately. On the job, you’ll apply math with basic fractions, as well as math with trigonometric principles. Although some topics are challenging, you can prepare for success as a plumber by mastering these skills that you’ll apply every day.


  • Develop math skills for work in the piping trades.
  • Produce calculations to cut and install pipe accurately.

Instruction Set 6

Finish Plumbing
Finish plumbing refers to the connections made between pipes and fixtures or appliances. Typically, plumbing projects involved with finish plumbing includes isolating the plumbing behind walls or under floors. In this case, access panels are created to make the shut off valves accessible for future maintenance and repairs. Plumbing projects range from common repairs such as a leaky faucet to more complex repairs such as a water heaters and installations including fixtures and drains. You’ll notice projects also vary depending on if the project is a renovation or new installation.


  • Distinguish between various types of plumbing tools, materials, and their use.
  • Explain the installing and design process of plumbing lines, fixtures, and faucets.
  • Explain the installing and design process for other fixtures, faucets, and drains.
  • Analyze various types of plumbing repairs related to home plumbing.
  • Organize the steps for installing a double-bowl, self-rimming kitchen sink with a pullout faucet and the sink drain.

Digital Textbook: Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Plumbing

Instruction Set 7

Reading Piping Prints
As a plumber, you’ll need to know the fundamentals of reading piping prints. It’s important to know that prints serve a purpose and are necessary for the layout of plumbing systems. There are different processes for creating prints. You’ll need to know the different types of drawings, symbols, abbreviations, and dimensions that are used in laying out a good plumbing system. Also, as a plumber, you’ll need to know the different types of valves, pipe materials, and their manufacturing methods.


  • Interpret the components of piping prints needed for various plumbing designs.

Instruction Set 8

International Plumbing Code
The International Plumbing Code (IPC) is used as the authoritative code in most of the United States. As you start your plumbing career, you’ll follow your supervisor’s interpretation of the code and their subsequent directions. However, your understanding of the IPC should begin even when you’re a novice in the field. As a plumbing professional, it’s essential to grasp the purpose, organization, and language of the IPC. In the field, employers and supervisors seek workers who prioritize developing their trade skills, and this includes following codes. You’ll examine codes for fixtures, equipment, and designs, and you’ll navigate the IPC to research questions and prepare for installations.


  • Summarize the features and goals of the International Plumbing Code.
  • Explain the code for fixtures, water heaters, and water supply designs.
  • Analyze the codes that regulate sanitary drainage systems and the specifics for vents and trap seals.
  • Consider the codes for designing and installing non-potable water, storm water, and medical gas systems.
  • Choose the codes and related appendices for installing or repairing plumbing work.

Textbook: International 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.

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