Average Plumber Salary Nationwide

No wage data available

Overview and Basic Information


Anyone who has faced a busted pipe or broken toilet will tell you that plumbers are legit heroes. Plumbers also install and repair water supply lines, waste disposal systems and related appliances and fixtures.

Being a plumber is physically demanding. Strength, stamina and an ability to work in a variety of uncomfortable environments are assets you’ll need before you grab that pipe wrench. Fixing a faucet in a plush office restroom might sound like a sweet gig. But you might also spend your morning wedged in a freezing crawl space fixing a broken drain line. It all needs to get done, and there’s serious money available for the folks who are willing (and able) to do it.

Unless it’s scheduled maintenance or installation, people typically need plumbers ASAP. The good news is that plumbing emergencies make for excellent job security. The bad news…? You might end up working more than 40 hours a week and be on call for nights and weekends.

Example plumber job description

We're looking for an organized, experienced plumber with exceptional diagnostic and problem-solving skills. In this role, you’ll install plumbing systems and ensure that they function safely and effectively.

You must work quickly and efficiently to solve problems and make necessary repairs. You must also be a strong, independent and collaborative worker. You should also be physically able to handle long, demanding work hours.

Typical duties include:

  • Preparing cost estimates for customers

  • Reading blueprints and following state and local building codes

  • Determining the material and equipment needed for a job

  • Installing pipes and plumbing fixtures

  • Installing heating systems 

  • Installing appliances such as dishwashers, water heaters and washing machines

  • Inspecting and testing pipe systems and pipelines

  • Troubleshooting malfunctioning systems and appliances

  • Repairing and replacing worn parts


  • High school diploma or GED

  • Vocational certification or associate’s degree preferred

  • Proof of completed apprenticeship

  • Current plumbing license

  • 2+ years relevant experience

  • Experience reading technical designs and blueprints

  • Proficiency using plumbing tools, power tools, materials and equipment

  • Expert knowledge of piping and ventilation systems

  • Available to work on-call and respond immediately to plumbing emergencies

  • Good at problem-solving skills

  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) a big plus

Common questions about plumber jobs

How much does a plumber make?

The average plumber makes about $54,000 a year. Of course, the starting pay for apprentices is less, but they receive pay raises as they learn to do more.

 What are the education requirements?

Becoming a plumber isn’t easy! You can get training at trade schools, community colleges and on the job as a plumbing apprentice. Apprenticeships usually last 4-5 years, involve paid on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of classroom training each year.

Depending on which state they work in, plumbers will need 2-5 years of experience and a passing grade on a test that covers trade knowledge and local codes before being licensed to work independently.

 Career paths for plumbers

Many experienced plumbers go into business for themselves and others become contractors. If you want to be a supervisor or contractor, being familiar with Spanish will give you an edge since a lot of the construction workforce is Spanish-speaking. Plumbers can also earn “green” trade certifications to get jobs with environmentally friendly companies.

The future of plumbers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall job opportunities for plumbers are predicted to rise 16% from 2016-26. Most demand for plumbers will come from new construction. And plumbers who are trained on Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems have the best job opportunities.

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