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How to Become a Pipe Fitter

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Pipe fitting is a specialized area of plumbing where you read blueprints and install pipes and plumbing fixtures in compliance with building codes. Though a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement, trade school is a common starting point if you want to enter this career field.

Education and Apprenticeship

A technical or trade school program is a place where aspiring pipe fitters learn the basics of plumbing, design and safety. Most states require that you get a license to be a pipe fitter. A four-to-five-year apprenticeship program with a master plumber is a common way to gain the two to five years of experience required for licensing. Your apprenticeship includes classroom training and on-the-job work where you participate in supervised pipe fitting projects.

Skill Development

During your education and apprenticeship experience, it is important to develop skills for pipe fitting success. Mechanical skills and familiarity with pipes, fixtures, tools and equipment are vital. You also need physical strength and problem-solving abilities to properly place pipes and fixtures, and to respond to problems that arise. Customer service and business skills will help you communicate well with clients, which is especially important if you want to become a manager or a self-employed pipe fitter.