An Essential Guide to Becoming a Plumber with an Average Salary and FAQs !
Learning a trade can be a rewarding career path, and the field of plumbing is no exception. If you enjoy interacting with people while also helping to fix one of the most vital systems in homes and offices, becoming a plumber may be perfect for you. Learning about this career path can help you secure steady work and a great experience as a plumber.
In this article, we discuss the duties of a plumber and how to become a plumber, and we provide answers to some frequently asked questions about this profession.
What does a plumber do?
Plumbers are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining water/gas supplies, heating systems, sanitation units and other related fixtures in both residential and commercial settings. They also assess and design plumbing systems to ensure they follow all codes and regulations. They typically work alone and may travel long or short distances on a regular basis to complete the necessary repairs. Employers may also expect plumbers to install things such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs and other related appliances. The duties of a plumber are as follows:
Traveling to homes and/or businesses to assess and repair plumbing issues
Providing estimates of repairs before fixing them
Troubleshooting issues and recommending the best options for long-term fixes
Reading and interpreting blueprints to plan new installations
Installing pipes and other related fixtures
Using special test equipment to pinpoint and diagnose issues
Repairing various plumbing-related appliances
Cutting, assembling and welding tubes, pipes, fittings and other related fixtures
Ensuring all work is in compliance with all regulations and codes
Average salary of a plumber
The average salary of a plumber can depend on several factors, including experience, education and location. The average wage of a plumber is $28.49 per hour. Some salaries range from $22 to $32 per hour depending on experience. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
How to become a plumber
In addition to acquiring the necessary skills, such as basic communication skills, math and customer service, there are several steps you can take to become a plumber. The steps are as follows:
1. Get your high school diploma or GED
If you have a high school diploma or you’re currently in high school and working to obtain your diploma, you’re eligible to pursue a career in plumbing. Those who haven’t received a diploma may also earn a GED. Plumbers should have a strong foundation in a variety of subjects, such as science, technology, computers and math. If your school offers drafting classes, consider taking these classes to increase your knowledge.
2. Complete vocational training for plumbing
While a college education isn’t typically a requirement, those pursuing a plumbing career may complete highly specified vocational training. To do this, you can enroll in an accredited technical college or trade school that offers plumbing vocational classes where you can become certified on drainage systems, water and how to use piping equipment.
3. Complete a plumbing apprenticeship
Once you’ve completed vocational training, you may then want to complete a plumbing apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships require you to complete a certain amount of classroom hours before employers accept you. However, the number of hours varies depending on the apprenticeship. During a plumbing apprenticeship, you may receive on-the-job training and learn about plumbing codes, plumbing procedures and specialized skills.
4. Get licensed
Many states require a plumber to be licensed. Depending on where you live, you complete a certain number of hours of classroom instruction, gain hands-on experience and complete an apprenticeship before taking an exam to obtain a license. This exam assesses a plumber’s skill level and knowledge of plumbing codes and procedures.
5. Gain experience
Once you’ve obtained your plumbing license, you can continue gaining experience as a professional plumber. You can also take additional classes to learn more about the trade and develop new skills, which can help you advance in your career. Eventually, you may even advance to the role of master plumber, which receives higher pay and more benefits.
Frequently asked questions about plumbing
Here are some frequently asked questions about the plumbing profession:
Is plumbing a vital job?
In general, plumbers are akin to doctors, lawyers and other vital members of a functioning society. Just as doctors are vital to our health and lawyers are necessary for a functioning legal system, plumbers are also vital to maintaining the plumbing of a residence or business. No matter what market they work in, they often have a steady, consistent flow of work and clients.
Do you need financial aid to attend a vocational school?
Vocational schools tend to cost less than traditional four-year colleges and offer shorter programs. They still cost money to attend. Whether you need financial aid to help you pay for the program depends on your financial status and the school you plan to attend.
Does this trade include opportunities for advancement?
Plumbers typically begin as apprentices before becoming licensed plumbers. From there, they can receive additional education and acquire specialty licenses that allow them to advance in their career to become a journeyman plumber or master plumber. The more training and specialized knowledge a plumber obtains, the more money they can make.
Can plumbers start businesses themselves?
This depends on the preferences, skill level and goals of each plumber. Many plumbers may choose to work their entire careers for a company, while others start businesses for themselves. They may even choose to do both at different times in their careers.
5 Types of Plumbers and Their Duties and Salary
Plumbing jobs are in high demand thanks to the regular construction of new buildings and homes. Depending on the type of plumber, individuals can make a substantial salary and gradually increase that salary as experience and knowledge are gained. In this article, we’ll explain the basic duties of a plumber, the average salary for plumbers in the United States, the different types of plumbers and how to increase your salary in this job.
What are the duties of a plumber?
Plumbers are construction professionals who repair and install various types of pipes that carry water and gas to and from a location. They also handle fixtures that take waste away from businesses and individual homes. Common appliances that a plumber works with include sinks, toilets, washing machines, bathtubs, showers and dishwashers. More experienced plumbers often allow less experienced plumbers to work as apprentices for them to receive on-the-job training.
Common duties of a plumber include:
Installing plumbing fixtures and water and gas pipes
Inspecting and testing plumbing equipment like pressure gauges to ensure they work correctly
Troubleshooting plumbing fixtures and make corrections when needed
Getting rid of obstructions in toilets and drains
Providing clients with estimated costs of plumbing services
Repairing plumbing fixtures and pipes
Average salary for a plumber
Plumbers working in the United States make an average of $50,602 per year. They also make around $6,750 in overtime per year. These numbers are based on 10,800 salaries reported to Indeed as of December 26, 2020. Several factors influence the salary a plumber makes, including how much experience the plumber has, where they work and their geographical location. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please click on the salary link above.
In addition to salary, some plumbers also enjoy benefits. Common benefits offered to plumbers include:
Paid time off
Professional development assistance
Benefits will vary depending on a plumber’s place of employment.
5 different types of plumbers
There are a few different types of plumbers. Knowing these types and what they do can help you decide what kind of plumber you want to be. The primary types of plumbers include:
Commercial plumbers are qualified professionals who perform plumbing duties in commercial settings. Many commercial plumbers work in schools, hospitals, colleges and manufacturing plants and specialize in working around industrial equipment. This type of plumber is responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing tanks and pipes in these commercial settings.
Commercial plumbers are experts in working with large amounts of outlets and pipes as well as working on multiple floors. This differs from residential plumbers who are mainly hired to work on one or two plumbing fixtures in a single home. Commercial plumbers can also handle a wide variety of issues and must stay up-to-date on codes related to plumbing in a commercial setting.
This type of plumber often deals with a number of issues in commercial buildings, such as removing large amounts of waste and installing water systems for large businesses. Their responsibilities are typically much more extensive than that of a residential plumber. As a result, commercial plumbers are often much more advanced and knowledgeable about various plumbing issues than residential plumbers.
Service and repair plumber
Service and repair plumbers specialize in performing various maintenance and repair tasks related to plumbing systems in both residential and commercial settings. This type of plumber usually gains their experience through technical training as well as on-the-job training. Common jobs a service and repair plumber may perform include fixing leaks, adjusting reduced pressure, eliminating clogs and cleaning plumbing systems and fixtures.
Residential plumbers specialize in installing, maintaining and repairing plumbing fixtures and issues in a residential setting. Residential plumbers spend much of their time performing pipe system installations, small-scale plumbing jobs and residential plumbing system repairs. They work with plumbing systems such as pipes, water systems and toilets and can typically solve any plumbing-related issues within a home.
Residential plumbers often gain their expertise and experience by working as an apprentice under a more experienced plumber. Once they are skilled in their profession, these plumbers can work independently or for a company as an independent plumber.
A sanitary plumber is a plumbing professional who specializes in various plumbing techniques related to sanitary systems. This is the most common type of plumber hired as most residential plumbing issues relate to the home’s sanitary system. Common tasks performed by sanitary plumbers include unblocking and cleaning jams in sanitary systems, installing toilet and bathroom pipes, fitting suspended drains and overseeing plumbing installations like bathtubs and toilets. Sanitary plumbers may also fit water heating systems and boilers in showers and toilets.
Water supply plumber
Water supply plumbers specialize in working with water supply systems such as water tanks, kitchen tanks, bathroom tanks, overhead storage tanks and pipes. Common duties of water supply plumbers include installing various water supply systems in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms as well as fitting excess pipes and sanitation systems. Some water supply plumbers will also perform basic residential plumbing duties like unclogging kitchen and bathroom drains and toilets.
Ways to increase your salary as a plumber
The following are a few methods you can try to increase your salary as a plumber:
Get more experience. The more experience you have, the more you’ll likely get paid as a plumber. Plumbers just starting out typically make around $20,000 to $40,000 less per year than those with 10 or more years of experience.
Change your industry. The industry a plumber works in can play a significant role in how much they make on an annual basis. For example, plumbers who work in the construction industry often make more money than those who work in the hospitality or manufacturing industries.
Change the company you work for. A plumber’s salary is also based on their place of employment. If you want to make more money as a plumber, do some research on available plumbing jobs and the average salary of plumbers at each company.
Consider moving to a different location. How much a plumber makes is also impacted by their geographical location. For example, plumbers working in Brooklyn, NY, make around $61,805 per year, while those working in Houston, TX, make an average of $47,093 per year.
Pursue a master plumber certification. Once you’ve gained enough experience as a plumber, you can pursue the title of master plumber. This certification requires you to possess a license as a journeyman plumber, work as a journeyman plumber for two to five years and then take the state exam for the master plumber certification. Master plumbers can work as project managers or open their own plumbing business, both of which can substantially increase their earnings.