Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Pipefitters are members of the Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and HVAC Service Technicians, also called the United Association. To join the union if you have no prior experience you must complete a five-year paid apprenticeship program. The United Association apprenticeship program is regarded as one of the best training programs in the construction field. If you did well in math, science and drafting you may be a good candidate for the program.
Learning the Trade
You can apply for the apprenticeship program if you have a high school diploma or GED and are at least 18 years old. The first step is filling out the United Association application form on the UA website. Candidates must earn a passing score on the qualifying test and complete an interview process. Each of the five years include up to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training working under the direction of journeymen pipefitters, which is supplemented with classroom instruction. Part of the training will include working long and irregular hours in actual working conditions. Participants must provide their own tools and transportation, but they are paid a percentage of the journeyman wage throughout the training. UA can put you in touch with your local union, and you will be eligible for union membership as an apprentice as soon as you start your training.
Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.