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6 Trade Associations That Keep Plumbing Pros Informed

Trade associations that give plumbers access to knowledge, networking and a voice in government.

Trade associations provide professionals with access to resources that help them develop their skills and grow their businesses. When you become a member, you can also tap into a network of other professionals who want to exchange ideas and contribute to the advancement of the industry.

Each association has its own flavor. Some concentrate on specific parts of plumbing, like codes and standards, while others focus on enhancing leadership skills. But every association prioritizes three main pillars:

  1. Education. Part of trade associations’ functions is to stay on top of industry trends and hot topics to keep members informed. They accomplish this through news releases, webinars, conferences, training seminars and more. Whether you’re a business owner looking for management tips or a plumber who wants to hone their technical skills, look at trade associations’ training centers and events calendars to get started.
  2. Networking. Joining trade associations allows you to connect with others to discuss new plumbing methods, ask for advice on problems you’re facing and get honest feedback on your ideas. Additionally, you can learn from others’ successes and failures and share your own experiences to help fellow plumbers.
  3. Advocacy. As potential issues in the industry arise, such as legislation or standard updates that affect how plumbers work, trade associations leverage their contacts in government to advocate on your behalf.

Not sure which organizations to join? Below, you’ll find some of the most influential trade associations to further your career in plumbing.

Popular Trade Associations for Plumbers

Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association of America

The PHCC, which houses approximately 125 affiliates in its chapter network, serves over 65,000 technicians in the residential, commercial, new construction, industrial and service and repair segments of the construction industry. It seeks to further the plumbing and HVACR industry through education on “the health, safety and comfort of society and the protection of the environment.”

Association highlights:

  • The association is an industry leader in apprenticeship and technician training programs. Its resources include an online apprenticeship instruction program, plumbing assessment tests, textbooks, simulation training and more. PHCC also offers resources for experienced plumbers through webinars and online courses.
  • In addition to its annual conference, PHCCCONNECT, and online communities, PHCC hosts state and local chapter events to bring contractors together.
  • The PHCC is passionate about bringing awareness to important issues in the plumbing and HVACR industries and providing members with representation in legislative matters. The association’s Action Center makes it easy to get involved in communicating the importance of these issues to your local representatives.
  • Members can participate in the PHCC’s discount programs to save on work apparel, fuel, marketing services and more.

American Society of Plumbing Engineers

With more than 6,000 members worldwide, the ASPE provides resources and opportunities for professionals who design, inspect and make specifications for plumbing systems.

Association highlights:

  • In addition to on-demand webinars and training events, the ASPE offers certification courses like the Certified in Plumbing Design program. Additionally, the association maintains a publishing program, which has produced resources such as the Plumbing Engineering Design Handbook and The Plumbing Engineering and Design Handbook of Tables.
  • The association hosts conventions and symposiums to promote the exchange of ideas and skills in plumbing engineering.
  • The ASPE works alongside other plumbing- and engineering-focused organizations to coordinate code and legislative representation.

Mechanical Contractors Association of America

The MCAA has attracted over 2,600 contractors for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping and mechanical services across North America.

Association highlights:

  • Throughout the year, the MCAA hosts conferences and training courses to help contractors develop technical and managerial skills. The association also offers the Advanced Leadership Institute, which is a two-week onsite course at Babson College that trains mechanical contracting industry executives in leadership skills.
  • Each year, members can meet other professionals and attend workshops at the MCAA Convention. You can also find local chapters to join by searching “mechanical contractors association of” and the name of your state on Google.
  • Along with other association partners in the industry, the MCAA is active in representing mechanical contractors in Washington, D.C., on issues such as designing new multiemployer pension plan options, increasing federal infrastructure investments and promoting various tax reform improvements.

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials

With a focus on health and safety issues, the IAPMO has been serving the plumbing and mechanical industries since 1926. It provides guidance on code development, product testing and certification, personnel certification and more.

Association highlights:

  • The IAPMO offers training and certification programs to everyone, with special discounts for members. These include online continuing education courses on code topics and certification exam preparation courses.
  • Join a local chapter to meet other professionals in the plumbing and mechanical fields.
  • One of its biggest targets for advocacy focuses on creating and enforcing more uniform codes. The association invites members to help shape codes and standards by joining its committees.

National Association of Home Builders

If you work in residential construction, the NAHB is a great go-to resource for industry information. Made up of more than 700 state and local associations, the association serves over 140,000 members across the U.S.

Association highlights:

  • Each year, the NAHB hosts the International Builder’s Show, where you can learn about new industry trends and attend workshops. Throughout the year, NAHB provides other learning opportunities such as webinars and training courses to help pros hone their skills.
  • In addition to meeting other pros at the International Builders’ Show, you can join councils, which are made up of pros with similar interests. These include the Multifamily Council, the Remodelers Council and the Professional Women in Building Council.
  • The NAHB maintains a presence on Capitol Hill and in local governments to advocate for better federal housing programs, environmental laws, building codes, tax codes, building materials, OSHA standards, regulatory relief and more that affect its members. Read about its ongoing efforts and past victories on the NAHB Industry News page.

Associated General Contractors of America

Serving more than 27,000 firms, the AGC exists to protect the commercial construction industry through advocacy and education. It covers a variety of critical issues, such as health and safety, workforce development, construction law, risk management, tax, technology, infrastructure, labor and human resources and procurement.

Association highlights:

  • The AGC supports the industry by providing scholarships, educational programs, access to data and a resource library to help professionals stay informed.
  • In addition to joining a local chapter, you can join committees based on your area of expertise and interests.
  • Through its advocacy efforts, the AGC gives professionals the opportunity to make their voice heard in Washington, D.C., and provides regular updates to important issues.
  • Once you become a member, you have access to exclusive discounts with the association’s partners, such as Office Depot, Enterprise, FedEx and BP.

Take Advantage of Trade Association Benefits Today

After joining a plumbing trade association, get involved with a local chapter and stay active throughout the year, taking note of the resources that are available to you. If you’re the leader of a company, find out if you can extend your membership benefits, such as educational opportunities and local meetups, to your employees. How much you get out of your association membership depends on how much you put into them, so proactively seek ways to get plugged in throughout the year.

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