Plumbing is one of the most important trades in the building industry as it ensures safe drinking water and clean washing water. Plumbers deserve more credit than they are given, considering all the tasks and skills they must endure. Typical plumber responsibilities include the installation, maintenance and repair of sanitation units, water and gas supply lines, heating systems within residential, commercial and industrial residencies. Plumbers inspect the function of systems, perform diagnostics and make sure that everything runs well and complies with regulatory codes.
Successful plumbers are able to work alone and solve problems efficiently and timely. Sometimes a pipe will leak or burst and a plumber will be called immediately. Plumbers are dependable and should be able to troubleshoot and deal with problems quickly for the safety of others.
College is not required to become a plumber, only a completed apprenticeship with experience. These workers should have enough knowledge of water supply and heating/ventilation systems to get them through their everyday jobs, along with good communications skills and patience. If you are skilled in repairing household items and enjoy working independently, you might consider a career in plumbing!
Examples of Pre-Apprenticeship Skills
- Demonstrating the correct use of common tools and job site safety
- Cutting and joining pipes
- Installing, testing, and repairing plumbing systems
- Installing fixtures and appliances
- Implementing green building concepts to reduce resources and conserve water
- Reading blueprints to plan for installation or layout
- Preparing cost estimates
Plumbers may find themselves working either indoors or outdoors, but they should be prepared for either. Working outdoors may involve wet or damp areas but these can often be found indoors as well, if there is a major leak or burst in piping. This type of work can be physically demanding, as plumbers can be crouched or bent for long periods of time. Working independently is another aspect of working in plumbing, so be sure you are able to work independently when considering plumbing as a career.
Opportunities in a Plumbing Career
Plumbers are in high demand for residential construction, repairs and upgrades. The need for plumbers has grown exponentially over the years with the desire for water conservation. Plumbers can find work almost anywhere, since just about any home or business includes a basic toilet, sink and a plumbing system. Plumbers mainly find work installing or repairing water reservoirs, waste disposals and drainage, gas systems, showers, dishwashers and water heaters.
- General contractor
- Plumber’s assistant
- Master plumber
- Service contractor
Average Pay Rate
During pre-apprenticeship training, new plumbers receive anywhere between $10 to $14 an hour, depending on the employer. With continued training, those further experienced receive between $14 to $16 an hour. Once fully certified, plumbers can make between $50,000 to $65,000 a year, again, depending on the employer or the location. Full certification takes about 3 to 4 years, but the process is definitely worth it.