WHAT DO PIPEFITTERS DO?
Pipefitters work in factories and other industrial work spaces to install, repair and maintain pipes that carry liquids and gases, chemicals or acids throughout the facility. This might be in power plants or the HVAC systems in big office buildings. They must be able to understand blueprints and install pipes correctly, understand the sometimes dangerous nature of the chemicals that the pipes they create are transporting, repair and test any damaged or malfunctioning pipes and perform pressure tests from time to time.
Because they work with hazardous materials, pipefitters must know what types of pipe to use with different chemicals, acids or liquids. They often work in confined and hot spaces for long periods of time.
HOW MUCH DO PIPEFITTERS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2010, the median annual income for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters was $46,660, or $22.43 an hour.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Pipefitters start through apprenticeships with established pipefitters. This can last 4-5 years and incorporates on the job training and in class education. Apprentices must be 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED, pass a math test and a drug test, and know how to use computers.
Technical schools also offer training. Some states require licensing.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Managerial Skills: Pipefitters often work with other pipefitters and apprentices to get a job done. Directing workers on the job is needed.
- Mechanical Skills: Pipefitters use a variety of tools and must be able to read blueprints.
- Strength: Pipefitters must be able to carry heavy pipe and use heavy tools.
- Troubleshooting Skills: Pipefitters need to be able to see a problem, diagnose the source and fix the issue.
THE FUTURE OF PIPEFITTERS
Jobs will grow quickly for plumbers, pipefitters and others in the profession. The BLS estimates that jobs in this field will grow 26% between 2010 and 2020, much faster than average.