Five levels of professional certification are officially defined and required by Israeli law, but the certification is not enforced; and the vast majority of plumbers work without official certification.
Each level of certification involves a progression in terms of professional knowledge and experience. The lowest level of certification qualifies you for work from the “sewer to the faucet,” which basically entails relatively simple plumbing work in private homes. The second level of certification involves gaining experience with Yunkers (gas heating systems). The highest level of certification entitles you to work as a foreman or plumbing contractor. Note: Even if you obtain the highest level of certification, it is still necessary to work with an engineer.
To become certified, you must register to take a Hebrew-language exam given in conjunction with Misrad Hataasiya (Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor). To take the test, you must be at least 18 years old and provide proof that you successfully completed a vocational training course or have experience working as a plumber in Israel. The exams are both practical and theoretical.
Professional Certification from Abroad
If you are licensed as a plumber abroad, you can obtain Israeli certification by translating your documents and submitting them, together with proof of your experience, to the Testing Department. The Testing Department will assess your experience and award you the appropriate certification. In some cases, an experienced plumber may be required to take missing coursework in order to complete a higher level of certification.
Lishkat Hataasuka (government-run employment offices) runs courses in plumbing, which are usually available in different cities throughout Israel. In some cases, financial assistance for the cost of the course is available for new Olim. If you are interested in taking a course, you will need to arrange a meeting at your local Lishkat Taasuka. After this initial meeting, the Lishka will then arrange a second meeting with a social worker who can provide you with a referral; this referral is what qualifies you to take the course. In addition, you will be required to complete a simple entrance exam, which is given by the vocational school. These courses are only offered in Hebrew.
Privately-run vocational training courses are also available. When registering for a privately-run course, it is important to ascertain its legitimacy and make sure that it is properly certified. Each course should be under the supervision of Misrad Hataasiya.
Salaries range though the average is approximately 12,000 NIS a month, depending on a person’s experience. A plumber’s assistant earns a starting salary of approximately 25-30 NIS an hour, while an experienced assistant generally earns between 30–40 NIS an hour. Many assistants are hired at daily rates, rather than hourly.
Building a Business
Potential clientele includes private homeowners, commercial clients and construction/renovation projects. In order to build a business, it is a good idea to market your services via local publications, community bulletins, community websites, printed magnets and flyers, online business directories and social media. It is also a good idea to introduce yourself to hardware store owners.
Tip: Hand held tools are cheaper to purchase in the United States, but be sure they are the correct voltage. However, rest assured that all the necessary tools are available in Israel as well.
Hebrew is important if you plan to take a training course and pass the test. If you plan on working right away and “jumping” into the field, or if you have someone who is willing to mentor you through the beginning stages of your career, a five month Ulpan is advised in order to strengthen your basic Hebrew vocabulary. This is crucial in order to communicate with your clients. While many people speak English, you want to ensure that the customers understand the problem, the work you will be doing and when. Knowledge of technical terms and parts is extremely useful.
Thank you to Anglo-list.com for sharing their interview on “Starting a Plumbing Business in Israel.”
Thank you to Shmuel Rosenzweig (052-849-6418) for his contribution to this article as well.
- www.moital.gov.il: Misrad Hataasiya (Ministry of Labor)
- There are numerous plumbing blogs in Hebrew.
A special thank you to Ashley Coleman, founder and manager of Ashley Coleman Plumbing and Filtration Services, for participating in this interview.
Please provide us with a brief description of your field.
I am a British trained and qualified plumber. I made Aliyah 21 years ago. Today my company provides residential plumbing and water filtration services in the Bet Shemesh, Modiin and Yad Binyamin areas.
What is your current position?
Founder and manager of Ashley Coleman Plumbing and Filtration Services.
How did you find your job?
After making Aliyah and serving in the IDF, I worked for a small Jerusalem- based company for a year. There I learnt the main differences between plumbing systems in Israel as opposed to those in the UK. After that year, I decided to take the plunge and become self-employed.
What types of backgrounds are relevant for someone looking to break into the plumbing business?
Ideally, it is good to have a plumbing qualification before you make Aliyah, although it is not a must. In Israel, you do not have to be licensed in order to practice. There are some government-run courses available. As far as I know, they are all in Hebrew. From a practical point of view, you need a good pair of hands, willingness to learn and of course, to work hard. It’s not for everyone!
What education and experience should an Oleh looking to go into plumbing come with?
As I said above, any qualification and experience you can bring from abroad will be helpful and will give you a good springboard to work in the field.
How important is Hebrew in your field?
Although a large percentage of our clients are English speakers, you do need a basic level of conversational and technical Hebrew in order to deal with suppliers, tax authorities etc. Needless to say, if you are working with Hebrew speakers, whether they are clients, colleagues, employers or employees, you need to have a good level of Hebrew in order to communicate.
What are the benefits of your job?
When working in residential plumbing, you get to meet a lot of interesting people along the way. Being a people’s person is a big advantage. In our line of work, no two jobs are the same, no two days are the same, and no two clients are the same. It makes life interesting!
What is the salary range?
It varies depending on the number of clients you have. There is the potential to earn between 4000-12000 NIS per month.
Do you have any other advice or tips for Olim?
Before you make Aliyah, do your homework about every single aspect of living in Israel. Don’t leave anything to chance. Speak to people, ask questions and do your math. Expect to work hard, do not expect to get rich and expect bumpy times at the beginning. Once you are through that, you will begin to realize that you have arrived and are living in the most wonderful country on earth.
How do you feel about working and living in Israel?
I would not want to live or work anywhere else in the world. Israel is the place where I chose to live despite its challenges. This is where my children were born and have grown up with the deep Jewish and Zionist values of living in Eretz Yisrael. In my opinion, there is no other place for us to be!
Anybody interested in contacting Ashley with further questions, is welcome to do so, by phone or email: 02-9993001, 052-898-3396, [email protected]