Solar Thermal Installers and Technicians
Install or repair solar energy systems designed to collect, store, and circulate solar-heated water for residential, commercial or industrial use.
Sample of reported job titles: Installer, Solar Energy Technician, Solar Hot Water Installer (SHW Installer), Solar Installer, Solar Maintenance Technician, Solar System Installer, Solar Technician, Solar Thermal Installer
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Test operation or functionality of mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and control systems.
- Apply weather seal, such as pipe flashings and sealants, to roof penetrations and structural devices.
- Install solar collector mounting devices on tile, asphalt, shingle, or built-up gravel roofs, using appropriate materials and penetration methods.
- Install copper or plastic plumbing using pipes, fittings, pipe cutters, acetylene torches, solder, wire brushes, sand cloths, flux, plastic pipe cleaners, or plastic glue.
- Identify plumbing, electrical, environmental, or safety hazards associated with solar thermal installations.
- Demonstrate start-up, shut-down, maintenance, diagnostic, and safety procedures to thermal system owners.
- Install circulating pumps using pipe, fittings, soldering equipment, electrical supplies, and hand tools.
- Install flat-plat, evacuated glass, or concentrating solar collectors on mounting devices, using brackets or struts.
- Install solar thermal system controllers and sensors.
- Fill water tanks and check tanks, pipes, and fittings for leaks.
- Design active direct or indirect, passive direct or indirect, or pool solar systems.
- Determine locations for installing solar subsystem components, including piping, water heaters, valves, and ancillary equipment.
- Perform routine maintenance or repairs to restore solar thermal systems to baseline operating conditions.
- Install heat exchangers and heat exchanger fluids according to installation manuals and schematics.
- Apply operation or identification tags or labels to system components, as required.
- Connect water heaters and storage tanks to power and water sources.
- Cut, miter, and glue piping insulation to insulate plumbing pipes and fittings.
- Install plumbing, such as dip tubes, port fittings, drain tank valves, pressure temperature relief valves, or tanks, according to manufacturer specifications and building codes.
- Install monitoring system components, such as flow meters, temperature gauges, and pressure gauges, according to system design and manufacturer specifications.
- Assess collector sites to ensure structural integrity of potential mounting surfaces or the best orientation and tilt for solar collectors.
- Apply ultraviolet radiation protection to prevent degradation of plumbing.
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- Calendar and scheduling software — Work scheduling software
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Dassault Systemes CATIA; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks ; PTC Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire (see all 5 examples)
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — 1CadCam Unigraphics
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Salesforce software
- Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications VBA ; National Instruments LabVIEW
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
- Object or component oriented development software — Oracle Java
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Palm OS
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Cost estimating software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
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.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- 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.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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- Installation — Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
- 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.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
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- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- 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).
- 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.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- 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.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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.
- 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 Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- 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.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- 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.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Inspect plumbing systems or fixtures.
- Inspect industrial or commercial equipment to ensure proper operation.
- Test electrical equipment or systems to ensure proper functioning.
- Apply sealants or other protective coatings.
- Install solar energy systems.
- Install plumbing or piping.
- Communicate with clients about products, procedures, and policies.
- Determine appropriate locations for operations or installations.
- Maintain mechanical equipment.
- Pour materials into or on designated areas.
- Apply adhesives to construction materials.
- Apply identification labels or tags.
- Cut carpet, vinyl or other flexible materials.
- Install insulation in equipment or structures.
- Install gauges or controls.
- Assess locations for potential green technology installations.
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- Freedom to Make Decisions — 77% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 46% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Deal With External Customers — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Very important results.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 44% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 37% responded “High responsibility.”
- Exposed to High Places — 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 37% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “High responsibility.”
- Spend Time Standing — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 51% responded “40 hours.”
- Electronic Mail — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 56% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 26% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Physical Proximity — 48% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 41% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 43% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 28% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 42% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — 51% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 18% responded “Never.”
- Letters and Memos — 35% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 28% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Spend Time Keeping or Regaining Balance — 31% responded “Less than half the time.”
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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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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|43||High school diploma or equivalent
|25||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: RC 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.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- 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.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related 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.
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- 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.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
Employment data for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
Industry data for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
|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
- Home Builders Institute
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America
- National Center for Construction Education and Research
- 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
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