What Are Some Different Jobs in the Plumbing Trade?

Within the plumbing trade, there are five different specialties, including pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters and sprinklerfitters. Each of these specialties focuses on one specific area and requires specialized skills and tools. Read more about plumbing jobs here. Schools offering Plumbing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Jobs in the Plumbing Trade

There are various opportunities for those looking for work in the field of plumbing. Professional requirements may vary but work as a pipelayer, pipefitter or overall plumber are just some possibilities. These positions all require specific training requirements relating to the plumbing trade.

Important Facts About These Careers

Median Annual Salary (2018) $53,910 (for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters)
Job Outlook (2016 - 2026) 16% (for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters)
Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Professional Certification Licensing requirements vary, but most states require licensing for all plumbers to work independently

Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Pipelayers provide the major framework for outside plumbing systems. They install the actual pipe to build these systems. Pipelayers begin by digging trenches and preparing the grade where the pipes will lay. They may dig manually or use machines. Once the trenches are dug, pipelayers line the trenches with clay, concrete or plastic. Piping is laid in these trenches for sewers, drains or water mains. These workers also construct oil and gas lines, and they typically solder, weld or cement pipes together in place.


Plumbers work within residential, commercial or industrial properties to install and maintain water systems, including disposal, drainage and gas systems. In new construction, they work with blueprints to configure and install the plumbing systems. For maintenance and repair jobs, plumbers sometimes need to perform minor carpentry, such as cutting holes in walls to access pipes or hanging supports to hold pipes in place. They also install fixtures, such as showerheads, sinks and bathtubs, and appliances that use water, such as dishwashers and water heaters.


Pipefitters generally work in power and industrial plants, where they install and maintain the pipe systems used for industrial purposes, such as manufacturing, power generation or large-scale heating and cooling systems. They work with both high-pressure and low-pressure systems. Pipefitters also install the automated controls that are used to regulate industrial systems, and they generally specialize in one specific type of system.


Like pipefitters, steamfitters also generally work in power or industrial plants. Steamfitters specialize in pipe systems that move high-pressure liquids or gases.


Sprinklerfitters are a highly specialized group of plumbers. Sprinklerfitters install and maintain automatic fire sprinkler systems, such as the ones found in office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants and large or multi-unit residential properties.

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:

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  • Penn Foster

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  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

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    • Wisconsin: Shell Lake
  • Western Dakota Technical Institute

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    • South Dakota: Rapid City
  • Wes Watkins Technology Center

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    • Oklahoma: Wetumka
  • Washington County Community College

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    • Maine: Calais
  • Vincennes University

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    • Indiana: Vincennes
  • New England Institute of Technology

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    • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • Tohono O'Odham Community College

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    • Arizona: Sells