Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems. Includes sprinkler fitters.
Sample of reported job titles: Drain Technician, Fire Sprinkler Service Technician, Pipe Fitter, Pipe Welder, Pipefitter, Plumber, Residential Plumber, Service Plumber, Sprinkler Fitter, Steamfitter
Also see: Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications, using tools such as saws, cutting torches, pipe threaders, or pipe benders.
- Lay out full scale drawings of pipe systems, supports, or related equipment, according to blueprints.
- Inspect, examine, or test installed systems or pipe lines, using pressure gauge, hydrostatic testing, observation, or other methods.
- Plan pipe system layout, installation, or repair, according to specifications.
- Attach pipes to walls, structures, or fixtures, such as radiators or tanks, using brackets, clamps, tools, or welding equipment.
- Modify, clean, or maintain pipe systems, units, fittings, or related machines or equipment, using hand or power tools.
- Select pipe sizes, types, or related materials, such as supports, hangers, or hydraulic cylinders, according to specifications.
- Assemble pipe sections, tubing, or fittings, using couplings, clamps, screws, bolts, cement, plastic solvent, caulking, or soldering, brazing, or welding equipment.
- Install pipe assemblies, fittings, valves, appliances such as dishwashers or water heaters, or fixtures such as sinks or toilets, using hand or power tools.
- Install automatic controls to regulate pipe systems.
- Shut off steam, water, or other gases or liquids from pipe sections, using valve keys or wrenches.
- Keep records of work assignments.
- Direct helpers engaged in pipe cutting, preassembly, or installation of plumbing systems or components.
- Fill pipes or plumbing fixtures with water or air and observe pressure gauges to detect and locate leaks.
- Maintain or repair plumbing by replacing defective washers, replacing or mending broken pipes, or opening clogged drains.
- Locate and mark the position of pipe installations, connections, passage holes, or fixtures in structures, using measuring instruments such as rulers or levels.
- Review blueprints, building codes, or specifications to determine work details or procedures.
- Anchor steel supports from ceiling joists to hold pipes in place.
- Estimate time, material, or labor costs for use in project plans.
- Install underground storm, sanitary, or water piping systems, extending piping as needed to connect fixtures and plumbing.
- Inspect structures to assess material or equipment needs, to establish the sequence of pipe installations, or to plan installation around obstructions, such as electrical wiring.
- Install green plumbing equipment, such as faucet flow restrictors, dual-flush or pressure-assisted flush toilets, or tankless hot water heaters.
- Cut openings in structures to accommodate pipes or pipe fittings, using hand or power tools.
- Inspect work sites for obstructions or holes that could cause structural weakness.
- Install fixtures, appliances, or equipment designed to reduce water or energy consumption.
- Install pipe systems to support alternative energy-fueled systems, such as geothermal heating or cooling systems.
- Weld small pipes or special piping, using specialized techniques, equipment, or materials, such as computer-assisted welding or microchip fabrication.
- Operate motorized pumps to remove water from flooded manholes, basements, or facility floors.
- Repair hydraulic or air pumps.
- Repair or remove and replace system components.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Accounting software — Bookkeeping software; Intuit QuickBooks ; Intuit Quicken; KRS Enterprises Service First! (see all 5 examples)
- Analytical or scientific software — Bentley Systems AutoPIPE; COADE CAESAR II; Quote Software QuoteExpress; Watter Hammer Software Hytran (see all 11 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — AEC Design Group CADPIPE; Drawing and drafting software; Horizon Engineering Sigma Plumbing Calculator; ViziFlow (see all 7 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software ; Insight Direct ServiceCEO; PricePoint; Wintac Pro
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Facilities management software — Maintenance management software
- Internet browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Project management software — Estimating software; FastEST FastPipe; Piping construction costs estimation software; Vision InfoSoft Plumbing Bid Manager (see all 5 examples)
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel ; PipingOffice
- Web platform development software — Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
- Word processing software — Atlas Construction Business Forms; Contractor City Contractor Forms Pack; Microsoft Word ; Wilhelm Publishing Threshold
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
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- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Gross Body Equilibrium — The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
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- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Cut metal components for installation.
- Fabricate parts or components.
- Create construction or installation diagrams.
- Inspect plumbing systems or fixtures.
- Install plumbing or piping.
- Weld metal components.
- Plan layout of construction, installation, or repairs.
- Maintain plumbing structures or fixtures.
- Clean equipment or facilities.
- Select construction materials.
- Install gauges or controls.
- Inspect work sites to identify potential environmental or safety hazards.
- Record operational or environmental data.
- Install green plumbing or water handling systems.
- Direct construction or extraction personnel.
- Mark reference points on construction materials.
- Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly.
- Review blueprints or specifications to determine work requirements.
- Estimate construction project costs.
- Estimate construction project labor requirements.
- Inspect work sites to determine condition or necessary repairs.
- Cut openings in existing structures.
- Operate pumps or compressors.
- Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
- Remove parts or components from equipment.
- Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities
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- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
- Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
- Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
- Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
- Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
- Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
- Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
- Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
- Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
- Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — How much does this job require bending or twisting your body?
- Spend Time Walking and Running — How much does this job require walking and running?
- Exposed to High Places — How often does this job require exposure to high places?
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
- Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
- Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
- Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
- Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — How much does this job require climbing ladders, scaffolds, or poles?
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — How much does this job require kneeling, crouching, stooping or crawling?
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
- Level of Competition — To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Interest code: RCI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$27.08 hourly, $56,330 annual|
|Employment (2020)||469,900 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||51,000|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Fire Sprinkler Association
- American Welding Society
- Home Builders Institute
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America
- National Association of Home Builders
- National Center for Construction Education and Research
- National Fire Protection Association
- National Fire Sprinkler Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
- United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry
- United Steelworkers
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