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What Does a Plumber Do?

If you're looking for a career that offers variety, independence, social interaction and job stability, think about plumbing. Plumbers install, repair and replace pipes that supply water and gas and carry away waste to residential homes, new high-rise buildings and more.

They install plumbing fixtures like toilets, sinks and bathtubs. They also know how all the pieces work together. They install appliances that are connected to the water supply, like dishwashers and hot water heaters. They measure and cut pipes to fit specific designs. Some plumbers also maintain septic systems, the underground holding tanks for waste for houses not connected to the public sewer system. Some plumbers work with CAD software, which uses 3D imagery to help design plumbing systems for larger projects.

Plumbers may have to get into cramped spaces to make repairs. They often work nights and weekends for emergency repairs.

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Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
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Median Salary $
55,000
Jobs Available
48,300+
A plumber replaces a pipe fitting
A good plumber can quickly size up a situation and solve the problem. (Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Install and repair pipes for water, gas and other fluids
  • Install fixtures and appliances 
  • Interpret blueprints to lay out pipes 
  • Install supports for pipes and equipment
  • Assemble fittings and valves
  • Inspect and test plumbing systems for leaks and other problems
  • Follow safety standards and comply with building codes
  • Collaborate with others on the construction team
  • Prepare bids
Education + Training

A high school diploma or equivalent is not generally required. Training is available through trade schools and community colleges, with courses in pipe system design, tool use, safety, local plumbing codes and blueprint reading. Many workers become plumbers through apprenticeship programs, which typically last four to five years and involve paid, on-the-job training and technical instruction. To work independently, plumbers must pass an exam covering trade knowledge and local codes, be licensed and certified, and have two to five years of experience, though specific requirements vary by state and city. Other certifications are not mandatory but may create more job opportunities.

YOU MAY BE A GOOD FIT FOR THIS POSITION IF YOU
  • Enjoy problem-solving and are mechanically inclined
  • Have excellent analytical skills
  • Listen and communicate well
  • Are collaborative
  • Have the physical strength to lift heavy tools and materials

Plumber training in your area

Coordinates

Construction Technology- Plumbing Management Certificate Level 1

Collin College
McKinney (0.0 Miles)

Plumbing (NCCER) Workforce Development

Prince George's Community College
Largo (0.0 Miles)
Gateway Community College

Plumbing, A.A.S.

GateWay Community College (AZ)
Phoenix (0.0 Miles)

Plumbing Trade Option Certificate of Achievement

San Diego City College
San Diego (0.0 Miles)

Plumbing Apprenticeship Career Training

Indian River State College
Fort Pierce (0.0 Miles)

Plumbing Technology, A.A.S.

Delaware County Community College
Media (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology Certificate

Coconino Community College
Flagstaff (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology, A.A.S.

Navajo Technical University
Crownpoint (0.0 Miles)

Apprenticeship - Plumber-Pipefitter Advanced Certificate

Delta College
University Center (0.0 Miles)

Construction Plumbing Apprentice I Certificate

Columbus State Community College
Columbus (0.0 Miles)

Facilities Operations Technician Certificate of Achievement

College of the Desert
Palm Desert (0.0 Miles)

Plumbing Training

Craven Community College
New Bern (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Shawn Powell
Meet Ambassador
Shawn Powell

Shawn Powell has been a plumber for about 30 years, and a licensed master plumber for the majority of that time.

It's a job he enjoys for the camaraderie, the opportunity and the satisfaction of a job well-done. Plus, there's good money to be made in this always-in-demand trade.

"You have the opportunity to really be a craftsman, to build something for yourself and to demonstrate your skills."

Find out what else Shawn has to say about the benefits of becoming a plumber

Find Plumber Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Journeyman Plumber

Comfort Systems USA
Jackson ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months ago

Plumber / Service and Repair Technician

Carter Services, Inc.
Torrance ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 11 months ago

Plumber

Six Flags, Inc.
Darien Center ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 10 months ago

Service Plumber

Joe Hillman Plumbers
Davie ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months ago

Plumber III

Austin Independent School District
Austin ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 4 weeks ago

Lead / Junior Plumber

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Ocean City
Dillon ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Licensed Residential Plumber

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Ocean City
Joshua ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

BGE HOME Journeyman Plumber - Boiler Installation

Exelon
Baltimore ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months ago
Ask the Expert: Erin Izen
Image
Erin Izen in Home Depot store with apron
Ask the Expert: Erin Izen

If you’re considering a career in the skilled trades, and the construction industry in particular, you no doubt have questions. Are there good jobs available? Can I earn a decent living? Will I like it?

Erin Izen, director of workforce development and military relations at The Home Depot, has some answers. She and her team work to equip and upskill populations that are often underserved so they can grow their careers. This includes connecting potential tradespeople to careers in the residential and commercial construction and remodeling industries.

Read more.