The plumbing specialists who focus on installing and maintain pipes that carry gases, acids, and chemicals are pipefitters. Because of the liquids and gases being conducted through the pipes, these services are needed by manufacturing facilities. In addition to commercial and industrial facilities, pipefitters may also work on the heating and cooling systems for larger office buildings. When working with pipes that carry dangerous chemicals and acids, pipefitters need to take extra precautions to secure their own safety as well as that of the other workers and the facility itself. Becoming a pipefitter can help you start a dynamic career in the field of plumbing and construction.
Pipefitter Education Degree Requirements
Most pipefitters are most often trained through an apprenticeship. While there are no formal educational requirements, training from a technical school can give applicants an advantage in securing an apprenticeship. Certificate programs and two-year associate’s degree programs in welding or plumbing are available. A certificate program can usually be completed in less than one year. A handful of states also require that pipefitters have a license.
Mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems in construction, residential and light commercial blueprint reading, construction methods and materials, pipefitting tools and techniques, and field engineering might be part of your pipefitter education. Along with your coursework, physical strength and stamina might be helpful for lifting large pipes and using heavy tools throughout the work day. Troubleshooting skills may be useful for deciphering problems within piping systems. Strong communication skills are advantageous for working with other construction workers and building professionals such as engineers and project managers.
Becoming a Pipefitter: Career Outlook
Inspecting and maintaining piping systems is an important part of a pipefitter’s duties. They might evaluate each pipe and the connectors to ensure that the seals are sufficient and the pipes do not show wear. If needed, they will replace parts or make adjustments.
Employment for pipefitters is expected to grow faster than average at a rate of 26% in the coming decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The high demand for pipefitters will likely be driven largely by the construction of new factories and power plants. Almost all pipefitters work full-time. For projects with tight deadlines or emergency situations, they may be called to work outside of business hours on nights, weekends or holidays. On construction sites, overtime is common. Self-employed pipefitters may set their own schedules. However, they are also more likely to take after-hours calls for emergencies.
, the median annual salary was $47,750 in 2011. The lowest 10% earned less than $28,310 while the top 10% earned more than $82,310. This disparity in pay is because novice pipefitters usually earn about half of what experienced pipefitters earn. As pipefitters gain knowledge and experience, they can usually command higher wages.
Growth in industrial construction and new public works projects will generally mean that experienced pipefitters will find good employment prospects. Also, a large number of pipefitters are projected to retire, and employers tend to report having difficulty in finding qualified applicants. Learn more about how to become a pipefitter by exploring schools on our site today.