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Plumber, Pipefitter, and Steamfitter

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters typically do the following:
  • Install pipes and fixtures
  • Study blueprints and follow state and local building codes
  • Determine the amount of material and type of equipment needed
  • Inspect and test installed pipe systems and pipelines
  • Troubleshoot and repair systems that are not working
 

Minimum Education Required for this Career

Basic Certificate
Advanced Certificate
Associate's Degree
4+ year Degree
Basic Certificate
$27,580

City Colleges Program Options

Plumbing and Fire Protection

Highway Construction Careers Training Program

Nature of the Work

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install, maintain, and repair many different types of pipe systems. Although plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are three distinct specialties, their duties are often similar. For example, they all install pipes and fittings that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. They connect pipes, determine the necessary materials for a job, and perform pressure tests to ensure a pipe system is airtight and watertight.​

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Technical schools offer courses on pipe system design, safety, and tool use. They also offer welding courses that are considered necessary by some pipefitter and steamfitter apprenticeship training programs. Most states and localities require plumbers to be licensed. Although licensing requirements vary, most states and localities require workers to have 2 to 5 years of experience and to pass an exam that tests their knowledge of the trade and of local plumbing codes before they are permitted to work independently.

Future Trends

Job opportunities are expected to be good as some employers continue to report difficulty finding qualified professionals. Employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for plumbers is expected to come from new building construction and stricter water efficiency standards for plumbing systems, such as low-flow toilets and showerheads.

Career Pathways

Success at City Colleges