Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work primarily for construction and plumbing companies, while some also run their own businesses either independently or in partnership with other plumbers. Most employers require at least a high school diploma or GED for this position, as well as completion of a relevant apprenticeship. Although those in this position often learn on-the-job or through an apprenticeship, they may begin by attending a technical school. They may also be required to be licensed and bonded depending on the state in which they work.
Some employers require that plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters have valid driver's licenses and clean DMV records, as they may need to drive company trucks. Drug tests and background checks may be necessary, and they must be honest, reliable, and able to work independently with minimal supervision as well as in a team environment. They must also be comfortable working with diverse people, able to communicate clearly, and adherent to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety rules and regulations. They must always follow their company’s guidelines, policies and procedures related to safety, customer service, and work quality, as well.
Interpersonal and customer service skills are important in this position, as they may have to communicate directly with customers and answer their questions. Some employers prefer that their plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters speak a second language, such as Spanish or Chinese. They are often required to have their own tools, and some may need to train and coach new co-workers.
Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter Tasks
Read blueprints to identify service panels, access appropriate areas, and diagnose problems.
Clear drain lines, remove blockages, and ensure proper performance.
Assemble, alter, repair, and remove pipes, faucets, toilets, and their fittings.
Test plumbing systems and identify leaks or other problems.