Once UA members complete their five-year apprenticeships, they become full-fledged journeymen. However, their education in the trade is by no means over at this point. In fact, United Association members are very serious about pursuing lifelong training and most of them take advantage of the many opportunities they have to update and expand their skills.
For example, UA members might work during the day on a construction site welding pipe or installing sprinkler systems, or they may be making service calls as a plumber or air conditioning mechanic. But, at night after a hard day’s work, those same UA craftsmen may be found in classes at their local union studying subjects like orbital welding, valve repair, and computer aided drawing.
Becoming a United Association journeyman is really about making a serious commitment to a lifetime of learning and training . . . and it’s this commitment which translates into a quality product and significant cost savings for contractors and construction users who employ UA members.
Certification is the wave of the future in the piping industry. With the increasingly complex and challenging work that must be done by the modern pipe mechanic, it is almost required that craftsmen seek some form of official validation of their skills. In addition to the considerable prestige and knowledge that comes with being a UA journeyman, UA members can also pursue these certifications in a variety of specialized areas.
UA Certification Programs include valve repair, medical gas installation, welding, CFC removal, and instrumentation. Each of these programs rely on third party validation for an objective evaluation and testing of our members’ skills and abilities. For example, the testing sites and procedures for the UA Welder Certification Program are audited by representatives of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. This ensures complete impartiality and integrity in the program. See brochures on these programs.
We predict that even more certification programs will be set up in the future, as virtually every demonstrated skill we possess will have to be tested for. While certifications are being required by law in many areas, such as for medical gas installations, they can really benefit virtually every aspect of the piping industry.
We see certification as a positive trend for:
Who are given a quality construction product in their homes, workplaces, hospitals, power plants, and so on.
Who are ensured a skilled workforce who can get the job done right, on time, and frequently under budget.
Who are in demand because they are the best-skilled workers in the industry, most capable of completing the certifications to the highest standards.