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Career Definition of Plumbing Engineers
As a plumbing engineer, you will typically work for an engineering or architectural consulting firm. Your primary job function will be to oversee the design and implementation of plumbing engineering systems, ranging from waste disposal systems to water systems. In this role, you will usually be responsible for managing and staying within the project's budget. You may work on projects for use in a wide variety of buildings, such as healthcare facilities, commercial businesses, and government organizations.
In your role as a plumbing engineer, you will handle all aspects of the design process, which can include analyzing the building, performing design calculations, and choosing the appropriate plumbing system and equipment for installation. You will then prepare all associated marketing materials and schematics to present your proposal to clients. Your other job duties may involve drafting technical documentation like project drawings and design amendments, overseeing personnel assigned to the project, and providing training and mentoring to junior engineering staff. As a plumbing engineer, you could also be responsible for performing quality assurance reviews on projects, evaluating all technician drawings, and providing assistance on client requests for information (RFIs).
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's Degree|
|Job Skills||Excellent technical design skills, creativity, strong attention to detail, and effective communication and leadership skills|
|Median Annual Salary (2018)*||$70,501|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||6% (Engineers, All Other)|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The role of a plumbing engineer usually requires a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or architectural engineering. Alternatively, some employers may accept an associate's degree if you have relevant design work experience. You can choose to complete the Certified in Plumbing Design program offered by the American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
As a plumbing engineer, you will need excellent technical design skills in order to map out the logistics for plumbing systems. Advanced knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software programs is also important. You will also need a sense of creativity to design systems for buildings that have unique layouts. This role requires strong attention to detail to create technical drawings or work instructions. You should also have effective communication skills in order to present your work to clients, as well as collaborate with project managers, other engineers, architects and interior designers. Leadership is also a strong attribute to have since you'll oversee the work of junior staff, manage project timelines, and supervise vendor contracts.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have a grouping for plumbing engineers. Instead, they would fall under the broader grouping of 'engineers, all other'. The BLS lists an estimated 6% job growth for this grouping from 2016-2016, which is on average with all careers. In April 2018, PayScale.com showed a median annual salary of $70,501 for plumbing engineers.
A career as a plumbing engineer requires a keen eye for detail and strong technical skills. If you possess these skills, you may want to consider a related career in plumbing or engineering, such as a plumbing inspector or a manufacturing design engineer.