Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

  • Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

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    What Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters Do

    Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from, and within businesses, homes, and factories.

    Work Environment

    Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work in factories, homes, businesses, and other places where there are pipes or septic systems. They have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Plumbers are often on call for emergencies, so evening and weekend work is common.

    How to Become a Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter

    Although most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn on the job through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states and localities require plumbers to be licensed.

    Job Outlook

    Employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Construction of buildings which need new plumbing systems should drive demand for these workers. Overall job opportunities are expected to be good, with some employers continuing to report difficulty finding qualified workers.

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    Job Trends for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

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    This occupation supported 386,900 jobs in 2012 and 425,000 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 9.8%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 21.3% in 2022 to 469,200 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 403,300, compared with an observed value of 425,000, 5.4% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 12.7% in 2024 to 474,100 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 485,600 jobs for 2024, 2.4% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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