Job description

Plumbers install and repair pipes that carry water, gas, steam or drainage within homes, businesses, factories or power plants. They are responsible for the installation of plumbing systems in homes, such as toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers and even septic systems. Plumbers will follow blueprints to install, test and troubleshoot these systems, and they will also repair and replace any damaged ones.


    • Install water, gas, steam or drainage pipes
    • Repair and replace damaged pipes
    • Follow and/or create blueprints for piping systems
    • Test and troubleshoot pipe systems
    • Manage and prepare costs for clients
    • Allocate materials and equipment for job
    • Keep record of jobs performed
    • Manage or direct workers installing plumbing systems

Skills and qualities

Manual dexterity
Physical strength
Physical stamina
Attention to detail
Critical thinking
Active listening
Near vision

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

Plumbers can move up to management positions within a firm, which involves training and managing employees. After participating in an apprenticeship, plumbers can delve into different areas of residential or commercial plumbing, like waterproofing or gas-fitting, or they may even advance to large-scale projects, such as water treatment or irrigation systems.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

On call for emergencies

Plumbers work in various environments such as homes, businesses, factories or power plants. Much of their job involves travelling to different locations to install or repair a plumbing system.

Physical stamina and strength are required for this role as there is a lot of lifting, carrying, bending and climbing involved. Plumbers can also be exposed to injuries when using sharp tools, handling hot pipes or climbing ladders.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Apprenticeship programme

Study time

4 years

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually sufficient for aspiring plumbers. Some may choose to attend a trade school that offers related courses, or they may participate in a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship programme to enhance their training.

Once they have completed an apprentice program, plumbers are considered to be journey workers, meaning they can work independently. With several years of plumbing experience, they can earn a master status after passing an exam.

Most states require that plumbers are licensed. In order to work independently, these professionals need two to five years of experience and to pass an exam. Some also need a driver’s licence.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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