Pipefitters in the United States are largely men, earning an average of $24.67 per hour. Geographic location is the main element affecting pay for this group — career length and the specific company are driving factors as well. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Health benefits are not enjoyed by everyone in this line of work, and about one in four lack any coverage at all. Medical benefits are reported by a strong majority and dental coverage is claimed by slightly more than half. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
Job Description for Pipefitter
A pipefitter installs and fits various piping for commercial and residential use. The pipes are often meant to deal with high pressure, so it is important that the job is done right. The pipefitter will often personally have to plan the layout and design of piping systems, so that they fit in a customized manner. The pipes and related equipment used will usually be chosen by the pipefitter.Read More...
Pipes will be installed with the use of clamps and welding equipment. Sometimes, the pipefitter will be given the job of periodically inspecting existing pipes. It may also be necessary to repair piping if there are leaks or if the pipes are otherwise not performing optimally. It is necessary to be able to read blueprints. Strong mathematical skills are essential, in order to carry out proper measurements and to cut materials to certain specifications. This job requires the ability to use various hand and power tools. It is also important to have physical strength, such as the ability to lift heavy items, to bend and stoop, and to stand and walk for long periods of time. The hours of this job are often long.
Some jobs will require the pipefitter to have attended technical schooling relating to pipefitting and to have experience in pipefitting, which can be obtained through previous employment or apprenticeships.
- Handle and install pipes of various materials.
- Test equipment and piping for pressure and leaks.
- Visually inspect pressure and vacuum gauges and recommend repair work if necessary.
- Install, inspect and maintain repairs or replace pipes, pipelines filters, steam traps and strainers valves.
Common Career Paths for Pipefitter
As Pipefitters make advancements in their career path, their salaries may not change right away. For example, the higher-level Maintenance Pipefitter position pays around the same amount as the Pipefitter job on average. Many Pipefitters advance into roles as Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitters or Sprinkler Fitters, but the median salaries are $4K lower and $10K lower, respectively.
Pipefitter Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Pipefitter
Popular Skills for Pipefitter
Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, facility with rigging, Pipefitter, and Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 61 percent, 12 percent, and 8 percent, respectively. Plumbing and Pipe Fitter, on the other hand, are typically associated with much lower pay. Those familiar with Blueprints also tend to know Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW).
Pay by Experience Level for Pipefitter
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Pipefitters, more experience generally translates to higher pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $44K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $60K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $64K in this role. More than 20 years of experience seem related to solid financial gains; veterans in this group report earning a median of $68K.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 68 percent, Pipefitters in Chicago receive some of the highest pay in the country. Pipefitters can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Denver (+24 percent), Boston (+23 percent), Detroit (+13 percent), and Cleveland (+11 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Pipefitters is geography, with workers in Atlanta earning a whopping 25 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 23 percent less in Charlotte and 22 percent less in Norfolk, below-median salaries for those in this field.