Plumbers and pipefitters assemble, install, maintain and repair pipe systems utilized to transport water, liquids, air and gases. They install plumbing fixtures such as toilets and bathtubs. They also install refrigeration and heating units. Plumbing and pipefitting are regarded as separate trades, however a number of qualified workers have skills in both fields.

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Plumbing and Pipefitting Schools

The Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, and the United Association of Journeymen sponsor plumber and pipefitting programs. These five-year apprenticeships take place around the country and combine work in the field with classroom learning. While learning the trade, apprentices will also be employed by a contractor, allowing them to earn wages during the course of their training.

At the relevant point in the course of program, apprentices will choose a specific curriculum to pursue with the aim of becoming a plumber, pipefitter, or other service technician in the industry. Contact your local union to find out about apprenticeship programs in your area. Note that entry into most programs requires candidates have a high school diploma.

Plumber Education Requirements

Most plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters meet plumber education requirements through jointly administered apprenticeships or from community colleges and technical schools. Apprenticeship programs usually provide the most thorough training for these occupations. Most of these apprenticeship programs are managed jointly by union locals and their affiliated companies or by nonunion contractor organizations.

Most apprenticeships take 4 to 5 years to complete and include paid on-the-job training and include at least 144 hours of classroom learning each year. Subjects taught in classrooms include drafting and blueprint reading, applied physics and chemistry, mathematics, local plumbing codes, and regulations and safety.

Plumber License and Certification

Most states and communities require plumber training which leads to licensure. Although licensing requirement vary, most localities require workers to have two to five years of experience along with passing an examination that tests their knowledge of local plumbing codes and their knowledge of the trade before they are allowed to work independently. In a few states, pipefitters need to be licensed. A special license is required in several states to work on gas lines.

The Plumbing-Heating Cooling Contractors-National Association in partnership with the GreenPlumbers USA train and certify plumbers all over the nation on energy efficiency and water saving technologies. This certification can help workers trained in this area to acquire more jobs and advance in their careers more quickly.

Resources for Plumbers and Pipefitters


  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm
  2. The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, http://www.ua.org/

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Plumbers and Pipefitters

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Plumbers and Pipefitters jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 13070 $55,270
Anaheim 13070 $55,270
Long Beach 13070 $55,270
The Woodlands 13000 $49,860
Houston 13000 $49,860
Sugar Land 13000 $49,860
Fort Worth 11810 $43,580
Arlington 11810 $43,580
Dallas 11810 $43,580
San Francisco 6680 $62,380
Total Employment for Plumbers And Pipefitters - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
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Salaries for Plumbers And Pipefitters - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Plumbers And Pipefitters
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Plumbers And Pipefitters

Most Popular Industries for :
Plumbers and Pipefitters

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Construction Trades 323,760 74% $45,290
Construction 20,680 4% $47,480
Civil Engineering 17,730 4% $44,240
Government 17,630 4% $45,920
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 10,160 2% $51,860
Utilities 8,340 1% $53,610
Office Services And Staffing 7,690 1% $39,160
Education 6,100 1% $48,030
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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