Are you interested in plumbing? Do you have what it takes to be a professional plumber? If so, you need to understand various aspects surrounding the industry. Most people tend to have little knowledge on the duties these experts undertake as well as the occupational hazards they are exposed to. That aside, it is prudent to explore the job outlook as we will discuss below.

General Responsibilities of Plumbers

As a plumber, your job entails installations and maintenance of pipes that carry water and gas to, and expel waste away from residential and commercial buildings. You will install fixtures such as bathtubs, sinks, and toilets. Your attention may also be required to fulfill the following obligations;

  • Doing your homework on architectural setups for the plumbing systems and the materials required.
  • Setting out and installing hot and cold waters systems and other related equipment such as wrenches, pipe cutters, and plungers among others.
  • Installing water-based fire protection equipment such as fire extinguishers, hose reels and sprinklers.
  • Creating a blueprint for septic tanks, and water supply systems, pipe outlets and other sanitary appliances,
  • Construct and install soil and waste stacks.
  • Gather and install mechanical services plant, air handling and conditioning equipment and small bore heating systems.
  • Fixing sewerage and waste pumping equipment and disposal systems.
  • Fixing underground drainage systems and related ground support systems.
  • Constructing and installing metal roofing, rainwater devices and flashings.

Other appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines might not count as plumbing fixtures but they may require your attention.

Plumbing as a Career

Average Entry Level Salaries

According to the US Bureau of Statistics by 2017, an ordinary plumber was supposed to earn a salary $52,590 per annum. It goes on to state that, over 480,600 people worked as plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters. Out of all these people, one in ten plumbers is self-employed while others maintained it as a full-time job.

Recent findings indicate the likelihood of an increased number of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters to 12% as from 2014 to 2024. It is partly because more buildings are being erected in major city centers. Consequently, demand for plumbers will escalate though some employers have raised concerns on the current unqualified workers.

Average wages for plumbers

If you plan on taking your plumbing career to the next level, you can expect a salary of $21.94 per hour. Starting off as a trainer will see you through around half the pay-rate of a more experienced plumber in your local area. With time, your pay will increase as your skills continue to develop.

Just in case you get employed by the local government, expect a salary of $20 per hour. On the other hand, those assigned to natural gas distribution will walk away with an average pay of $26.27 per hour. Basically, one out of three plumbers, pipefitters, pipe players, steamfitters, and sprinkle fitters working in the US are part of union members. This means they have leaders to value their welfare and ensure they work in safe environment.

What employers expect from you

The plumbing job specification requires you to obtain a license, skills, and experience. However, employers will expect you to;

  • Read and interpret assignments, blueprints, drawings, and manuals in order to fulfill your duties.
  • Able to adhere to company policies and procedures
  • Able to work despite financial and time constraints
  • Ensure all details are done and your work is precise. In as much as you are human who is prone to errors, you should ensure it is on the minimum.
  • Outgoing, skilled, thorough, and free of any drugs.

Any decision you make, be it personal or work-related, has a strong influence on your employer, colleagues and clients on a daily basis. So, you are required to operate with the utmost professionalism.

Working environment

Working as a plumber calls for at least 40 hours a week, with 8 hours a day for 5 days a week. Though, as it may be common with many construction careers, you might still be sometimes required to work overtime depending on the nature of the project assigned.

The working environment every plumber is exposed is either indoors or outdoors. With either of the projects, you might work alone or with a professional team of construction professionals, so you should always possess great inter-personal skills to ensure that you easily succeed as a plumber. Generally, the nature of task is somehow physically demanding and you might be in various positions that might strain your body for longer periods of time. You might have to stand, lift heavy materials as well as crouch for extended time periods.

As this nature of job you might be exposed to safety issues, plumbers receive intensive training on safety and precautions to protect themselves against any possible injuries.

Education and Training

To be a certified plumber, you must fulfill the following steps;

  1. Get a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED)
    Installing and maintenance of pipes requires some foundation in Math. This includes algebra and geometry. Your course instructor must take you through theoretical and practical frameworks to understand the science and physics. This will help you in drafting and blueprint reading. So, be ready to go all the way.
  2. Go for vocational training
    After clearing your exams, you will need to take plumbing vocational classes at an approved trade school, technical and community college. Here, you will be allowed to work in conjunction with other certified and experienced plumbers to understand the typical program. Thereafter, you will receive a certificate to prove your competence in water supply and drainage systems; not forgetting piping equipment. Feel free to ask any questions in case you get stuck.
  3. Fulfill an apprentice initiative
    By the time you receive an award for diploma or an equivalent, be prepared to fulfill the most comprehensive training on what it takes to be a plumber. The apprentice program allows you to work as a fulltime student and earn a living in the process. This may take between four and five years depending on how fast you are willing to master the concepts.
  4. Get licensed
    To work in any state, you must receive a valid plumber’s license. Remember, the licensing requirements aren’t as rigid as you may expect. Getting 2-5 years’ experience and passage of an exam related to plumbing trades and local trades is an added advantage.

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