Plumbers and Pipefitters


Employment Prospects


Approximately 442,870 plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are employed in the United States. Most plumbers and pipefitters work for plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contracts in repair, maintenance, new construction, and renovation work. Others worked for industrial, commercial, and government organizations. A small percentage of plumbers and pipefitters are self-employed.

Starting Out

Applicants who wish to become apprentices usually contact local plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors or associations to find positions. Individual contractors or contractor associations often sponsor local apprenticeship programs. Apprentices very commonly go on to permanent employment with the firms with which they apprenticed.

Advancement Prospects

If plumbers have certain qualities, such as the ability to deal with people and good judgment and planning skills, they may progress to such positions as supervisor or job estimator for plumbing or pipefitting contractors. If they work for a large industrial company, they may advance to the position of job superintendent. Many plumbers go into business for themselves. Eventually they may expand their business and hire employees.

Tips for Entry

Consider a hands-on plumbing and pipefitting program while in high school, such as those sponsored by Learning For Life Corporation. For more information, visit

Explore the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association's apprentice and journeyman training programs by visiting

If you choose to go into business for yourself, make sure you check with your local municipality to adhere to any regulations or procedures, such as acquiring permits or licenses.