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Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
(SOC 47-2152)

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Plumbers, Pipefitters, and SteamfittersAssemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems. Includes sprinklerfitters.

Sample of reported job titles: Pipe Fitter, Pipefitter, Welder, Steamfitter, Sprinkler Fitter, Equipment Service Associate (ESA), Machine Repairman, Journeyman Pipe Fitter, Millwright, Pipe Welder, Plumber, Journeyman Plumber, Drain Technician, Plumber Gasfitter, Plumbing and Heating Mechanic, Residential Plumber, Service Plumber, Commercial Plumber

Job Responsibilities

  • Measure, cut, thread, or bend pipe to required angle, using hand or power tools or machines such as pipe cutters, pipe-threading machines, or pipe-bending machines.
  • Study building plans and inspect structures to assess material and equipment needs, to establish the sequence of pipe installations, and to plan installation around obstructions such as electrical wiring.
  • Locate and mark the position of pipe installations, connections, passage holes, or fixtures in structures, using measuring instruments such as rulers or levels.
  • Fill pipes or plumbing fixtures with water or air and observe pressure gauges to detect and locate leaks.
  • 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.
  • Direct helpers engaged in pipe cutting, preassembly, or installation of plumbing systems or components.
  • Cut openings in structures to accommodate pipes or pipe fittings, using hand or power tools.
  • Review blueprints, building codes, or specifications to determine work details or procedures.
  • Install underground storm, sanitary, or water piping systems, extending piping as needed to connect fixtures and plumbing.

New Hampshire Outlook

  • Average Hourly Wage*: $24.71
  • Estimated Employment 2012: 1,697
  • Projected Employment 2022: 1,986
  • Expected 10-Year Growth: 17.0%
  • Projected Average Annual Openings: 50

Top industries in NH for this occupation:

  • Specialty Trade Contractors
  • Self-Employed Workers
  • Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction

Education and Training

Most Plumbers learn the trade through an apprenticeship program, which is required in most states. Apprentices enter into an agreement with an employer, who provides supervised on-the-job training. At the same time, the apprentice attends classroom training. Most plumbing apprenticeships require four years of combined education and work experience.

In New Hampshire, Plumbers are regulated by the Plumbing Safety and Licensing Section in the Department of Safety. After completing a four-year apprenticeship in plumbing, they may take the Journeyman examination. Journeyman plumbers must have at least six months of practical experience to be eligible for the Master Plumber examination. Journeyman and Master Plumbers must complete a minimum of three hours of continuing education annually.

Interests (Holland Code): RCI

  • Realistic: 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.
  • Conventional: 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.
  • Investigative: Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Career Cluster: Architecture and Construction

Work Environment
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work in factories, homes, businesses, and wherever else there are pipes or septic systems. Workers must often lift heavy materials, climb ladders, and work in tight spaces. Some plumbers travel to a variety of work sites every day.

Additional Information Sources**
United Association, <www.ua.org>

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, <www.phccweb.org>

International Code Council, <iccsafe.org>

Office of Apprenticeship, US Department of Labor, <www.doleta.gov/oa>

To Find a Job
Contact the nearest NH Employment Security office or go online to www.nhes.nh.gov

* Wage estimates based on surveys conducted from November 2011 to May 2014.

** Inclusion of this information is intended to provide a convenient resource for research, but in no way constitutes an endorsement for any organization, nor is the list all-inclusive.

NH Employment Projections, base year 2012 to projected year 2022
Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics

O*Net Online Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau NHES Logo

For more information:
Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau
(603) 228-4124


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