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Career profile Plumber

Also known as Drain Technician, Fire Sprinkler Service Technician, Pipe Fitter, Pipe Welder, Pipefitter, Plumber, Residential Plumber, Service Plumber, Sprinkler Fitter, Steamfitter

Plumber

Also known as Drain Technician, Fire Sprinkler Service Technician, Pipe Fitter

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$33,460 - $98,990 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
  • Judgment and Decision Making
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Building and Construction
  • Design
Core tasks
  • Repair or remove and replace system components.
  • Repair hydraulic or air pumps.
  • Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications, using tools such as saws, cutting torches, pipe threaders, or pipe benders.
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What does a Plumber do?

Plumbers assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases.

In addition, Plumbers

  • may install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems,
  • includes sprinkler fitters.

What kind of tasks does a Plumber perform regularly?

Plumbers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications, using tools such as saws, cutting torches, pipe threaders, or pipe benders.
  • Lay out full scale drawings of pipe systems, supports, or related equipment, according to blueprints.
  • Inspect, examine, or test installed systems or pipe lines, using pressure gauge, hydrostatic testing, observation, or other methods.
  • Plan pipe system layout, installation, or repair, according to specifications.
  • Attach pipes to walls, structures, or fixtures, such as radiators or tanks, using brackets, clamps, tools, or welding equipment.
  • Modify, clean, or maintain pipe systems, units, fittings, or related machines or equipment, using hand or power tools.
  • Select pipe sizes, types, or related materials, such as supports, hangers, or hydraulic cylinders, according to specifications.
  • Assemble pipe sections, tubing, or fittings, using couplings, clamps, screws, bolts, cement, plastic solvent, caulking, or soldering, brazing, or welding equipment.
  • Install pipe assemblies, fittings, valves, appliances such as dishwashers or water heaters, or fixtures such as sinks or toilets, using hand or power tools.
  • Shut off steam, water, or other gases or liquids from pipe sections, using valve keys or wrenches.
  • Install automatic controls to regulate pipe systems.
  • Keep records of work assignments.
  • Direct helpers engaged in pipe cutting, preassembly, or installation of plumbing systems or components.
  • Maintain or repair plumbing by replacing defective washers, replacing or mending broken pipes, or opening clogged drains.
  • Fill pipes or plumbing fixtures with water or air and observe pressure gauges to detect and locate leaks.
  • Locate and mark the position of pipe installations, connections, passage holes, or fixtures in structures, using measuring instruments such as rulers or levels.
  • Review blueprints, building codes, or specifications to determine work details or procedures.
  • Inspect structures to assess material or equipment needs, to establish the sequence of pipe installations, or to plan installation around obstructions, such as electrical wiring.
  • Install underground storm, sanitary, or water piping systems, extending piping as needed to connect fixtures and plumbing.
  • Anchor steel supports from ceiling joists to hold pipes in place.
  • Estimate time, material, or labor costs for use in project plans.
  • Install green plumbing equipment, such as faucet flow restrictors, dual-flush or pressure-assisted flush toilets, or tankless hot water heaters.
  • Cut openings in structures to accommodate pipes or pipe fittings, using hand or power tools.

The above responsibilities are specific to Plumbers. More generally, Plumbers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

What is a Plumber salary?

The median salary for a Plumber is $56,330, and the average salary is $61,100. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Plumber salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Plumbers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Plumbers earn less than $33,460 per year, 25% earn less than $42,330, 75% earn less than $75,370, and 90% earn less than $98,990.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Plumbers is expected to change by 5.0%, and there should be roughly 51,000 open positions for Plumbers every year.

Median annual salary
$56,330
Typical salary range
$33,460 - $98,990
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
5.0%

What personality traits are common among Plumbers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Plumber are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Plumbers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Plumbers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Plumber tend to value Independence, Relationships, and Support.

Most importantly, Plumbers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Plumbers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Plumbers moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Plumbers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Plumbers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Plumbers need?

Plumbers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Plumbers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Plumbers

  • 14.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 46.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 25.4% completed some college coursework
  • 7.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 4.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Plumbers

Plumbers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, building and construction, or design knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Plumbers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Plumbers

Plumbers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Plumbers need abilities such as near vision, problem sensitivity, and arm-hand steadiness in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Plumbers, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.

Critical Skills needed by Plumbers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Plumbers frequently use skills like critical thinking, active listening, and judgment and decision making to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Plumbers, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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