What does a plumber do?
Plumbers are trained professionals that install piping systems for adequate plumbing and maintain and repair systems that have malfunctioned. They install and repair the water, drainage, waste disposal, and gas systems in residential, commercial, and public buildings. They also install plumbing fixtures and appliances such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, water heaters, and dishwashers.
Plumbers follow blueprints or building plans to ensure that piping systems and equipment are installed properly and safely. They measure and mark the areas where the pipes will be installed and connected to the water line. They are also responsible for checking for obstructions and planning the pipes around them. They use a variety of different construction methods and materials depending on the type and complexity of the task. In residential water systems, plastic, steel, and copper piping are the materials that are commonly used.
What kind of training does a plumber need?
Most plumbers train for their career in community colleges, career and technical schools, or through formal apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs typically offer the most comprehensive training available for plumbers because they provide a strong thorough foundation of all concepts of the trade. The programs are managed by unions and their affiliated organizations or by nonunion contractor companies. Both types of programs include 4 to 5 years of paid on the job training and a minimum of 144 hours of annual related classroom education.
Most states require plumbers to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but most require plumbers to have at least 2 to 5 years related work experience and a passing score on an examination that measures knowledge of plumbing concepts and codes.
What are the prospects for a career as a plumber?
Employment of plumbers is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Building renovation and new construction of houses and other structures drives job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be great especially for plumbers who have extensive experience. Job opportunities will also arise from the need to replace plumbers who retire or leave the field.
How much do plumbers make?
As of July 2009, the middle 50% of plumbers earned annual salaries between $33,551 and $46,060. The highest 10% of plumbers earned annual salaries of more than $52,461 (2).
A career as a plumber is a great choice for individuals who are in good physical health and do not mind getting their hands dirty. Plumbers must be very patient, have good problem solving skills, and be able to work effectively independently and as part of a team.