What Is the Typical Salary of a Plumber?

Plumbers, which include pipelayers, pipefitters and steamfitters, make up one of the largest construction occupations. Read on to learn more about the typical salaries for plumbers, according to industry, experience and location. Schools offering Plumbing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Outlook and Salary Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that plumbers were in high demand and that jobs were expected to increase 21% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, the mean hourly wage for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters was $26.26 as of May 2014, which translated to an annual average salary of $54,620. The top ten percent earned annual wages of $88,160 or more. The lowest ten percent of workers received salaries of $29,470 or less per year.

Important Facts About This Occupation

On-the-Job Training Apprenticeship (4-5 years)
Licensure Required by most states
Key Skills Troubleshooting, business, customer service, and mechanical skills; strength
Work Environment Areas with pipes and sewage systems, including houses, factories, and buildings
Similar Occupations Electrician, construction manager, boilermaker

Salaries by Industry

Your salary can vary a great deal depending on the industry in which you're employed. The BLS reported that the mean yearly salary for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters working for building equipment contractors was $55,560 as of May 2014, while those employed by the local government earned a lower mean wage of $50,790 annually. Those working in nonresidential building construction made a mean salary of $52,690, while those working in utility system construction earned an average of $52,500 per year.

The BLS reported that the metal ore mining; performing arts, sports and events promotion; and spectator sports industries were among the top-paying fields for plumbers, but there were fewer available jobs in these industries. Mean wages for these industries in May 2014 were $77,260, $76,330 and $74,870, respectively.

Salaries by Location

The BLS reported that wages were generally higher in the Northeast and West Coast, compared to the South. Plumbers in Oregon were the best paid, with a mean yearly wage of $72,440 as of May 2014. Other states with the highest mean wages were Illinois ($71,810), Massachusetts ($71,270), New York ($71,120) and Alaska ($70,480).

Low paying states had mean wages of $21,620-$44,130. Some of these included Wyoming, Florida, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Alabama. The states that employed the greatest number of plumbers were California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois.

Education Requirements

Although most skills can be learned on the job, if you're looking for a formal education and greater job opportunities, you can earn a certificate or associate's degree in plumbing technology. While associate's degree programs typically take around two years to complete, certificate programs usually last 9-12 months. Some programs may offer apprenticeship opportunities, which can provide you with hands-on practice.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster Career School

    Penn Foster Career School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Shell Lake
  • Western Dakota Technical Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • South Dakota: Rapid City
  • Wes Watkins Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Wetumka
  • Washington County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Calais
  • Vincennes University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Vincennes
  • Tohono O'Odham Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Sells
  • New England Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Lancaster