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Plumber Video: Career Options in the Plumbing Professions

Plumber Video: Career Options in the Plumbing Professions Transcript

Looking for a high-paying position in construction? Consider a career in plumbing. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters play an important role on construction sites. These professionals are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing the pipes and systems that give us water, heat and air conditioning.


Plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters and steamfitters are trained to work on more than just clogged drains. These professionals install, maintain and repair the various pipe systems that run through homes and businesses.

Job Skills and Duties

People who work in plumbing professions tend to specialize in one of four areas. Plumbers, who install and repair plumbing fixtures, water pipes, gas systems and appliances. Pipelayers, who lay pipes for water, drain, and gas systems. Pipefitters, who focus on the high-pressure and low-pressure pipe systems used in industrial shops. And steamfitters, who install pipe systems for gases and liquids that are under high pressure. All plumbing professionals work under strict plumbing codes and should be familiar with what can and can't be done on a job. Light carpentry skills and the ability to read blueprints are sometimes required, as walls or floors may need to be modified to accommodate pipes and plumbing fixtures. Knowing how to use common tools, such as soldering irons, acetylene torches, wrenches and pipe cutters, is also important.

Training Required

Aspiring plumbers and people who want to work in related professions can enter the plumbing field in a number of different ways. The most popular options include apprenticeships or on-the-job training. Apprenticeships typically last four to five years and combine paid on-the-job training and with classroom instruction. Straight out on-the-job training, on the other hand, is paid but does not include classroom instruction. Formal courses are also available through community colleges, career schools and technical institutes. These courses typically result in a diploma or a certificate and last anywhere from six months to two years. Most states and communities require plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters to work under a licensed plumber or be licensed themselves. Licensing requirements can vary by state, but most commonly include two to five years of experience and passage of a standard examination.

Well Known Jobs within This Field

The most well known job within this field is that of the plumber. Plumbers typically work for contractors in residential settings, but may also work through industrial, commercial, and government employers. Pipefitters and steamfitters spend most of their time inside working in industrial settings, while pipelayers work outside to lay pipelines for oil, gas and chemical companies. Approximately 12 percent of all plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters and steamfitters are self-employed.


Plumbing is an integral part of the construction trade, which means that there will typically be jobs available for qualified personnel. If you are looking for an in-demand and high-paying construction discipline, plumbing might be good for you.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook - Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters

Wikipedia - Plumber

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