By Lana Mason
At only 20 years old, Brady Rider is the youngest person in Arkansas to complete the plumber apprenticeship program and earn his master plumbers license.
While still in high school at Rural Special School, Brady began plumbers trade school at ASU in Heber Springs the year he turned 16. He attended high school during the day, attended night classes at the college, and worked weekends and summers under a master plumber.
“It wasn’t the easiest thing and I didn’t have a lot of time for anything else, just school and work.”
Brady worked his first year under Master Plumber Greg Wells and then under his father, Stacy Rider, who is now a master plumber operating his own plumbing business.
When asked why he decided to be a plumber he stated, “The opportunity was there, and just seemed to work out, especially since I was already working with dad through the summer.”
He explained he can also use his plumbers license as a safety net. “I can try something else, and if it doesn’t work out I can fall back on plumbing, plus it’s not a bad job,” he stated.
While service calls are usually the easiest tasks, “you have to use creative thinking to work around messes engineers often create.” He said it’s also frustrating while working on a new house and the owner decides they want something different halfway through the project. While the job can be a challenge at times, Brady said it’s still not as hard as people think and there will always be a demand for plumbers. “They can’t build a robot to replace a plumber,” Brady said with a laugh.
While college degrees can cost thousands of dollars, tuition to complete four years of trade school was only $1,200.
Brady said he is able to make just as much money or more as someone who earns a college degree, without the burden of student loan debt. He was also employed the entire time he was in school and received pay raises as he completed each year.
Brady plans to continue to work for his dad and one day take over the business.
He is the son of Stacy and Pam Rider, and lives in Stone County, near Prim.
This story appeared in the June 20, 2018 issue.