How to Become a Plumber, Pipefitter, and Steamfitter

What To Do Now? Plumber Career Training

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Do you like to use your hands to solve practical problems? Plumbers install, maintain, and repair water fixtures in homes and businesses. If you are handy around the house, you could improve your skills with retraining to become a plumber. Apprenticeships and experience are important steps to breaking into this field, but online plumber training courses can provide classes that prepare you for licensure requirements.

Career Skills Plumbers Need

Plumbers are known for their ability to fix problems in people's homes such as clogged toilets or malfunctioning garbage disposals. They also install appliances related to bathrooms and kitchens: dishwashers, sinks, water filters, shower heads, garbage disposals, and toilets. However, businesses also rely on plumbers to make sure that water systems are working properly.

What kind of career skills do you need to become a plumber? If you are good with your hands, enjoy solving problems, can follow directions, and are interested in plumbing systems, this occupation could be a good match for you. You will need excellent communication skills in order to provide good customer service. As a plumber, you can work independently in your own business or as part of a plumbing company. You might even be employed by a large organization. In a down economy, people continue to need the services of a plumber and are often willing to pay for this important service even when money is tight.

Career Advice for Plumbers

What can you do to improve your skills for an occupation in plumbing? Practical experience in the field is one of the most important components in becoming a plumber and apprenticeships are a typical way to retrain in the field. In addition, classes provide needed information on applied math and physics, safety, plumbing codes and more. Online plumbing training courses exist that can supply this education.

Career Outlook

  • Median Annual Wage. In Many 2013, the plumber, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a median annual wage of $53,820 with top 10% making more than $86,120.
  • States with Highest Employment. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania
  • Top Paying States. Alaska, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Illinois
  • Working Together. Roughly 30 percent of plumbers belong to a union
  • Working Alone. About 11 percent of plumbers are self-employed
  • The Training You Need. Most plumbers go through a formal apprenticeship program, although some attend technical schools or community colleges
  • Apprenticeships. Both union and nonunion apprenticeships exist, and both types involve 4-5 years of paid on-the-job training plus classroom instruction
  • Classes to Take. Your coursework should include applied physics, chemistry, drafting and reading blueprints, mathematics, safety, and local plumbing codes and regulations
  • Get Licensed. No uniform national licensing requirements exist, but most states require plumbers to be licensed, which often requires passing a test and proving experience
  • In Good Company. Plumbers, and closely related occupations, held about 386,900 jobs in 2012
  • Coming Down the Pipe. Employment should increase by 21 percent from 2012-2022
  • Good News. Plumbers are less affected by economic fluctuations than other construction workers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, May 2013 Wages