Plumber Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|20 Years +||$15.34||$44.64||$31,910.00||$92,850.00|
A plumber is a tradesman who is an expert in designing, fitting, and maintaining pipelines and systems for plumbing, potable water, sewage, and drainage. Plumbers mainly work in residential settings. But expert plumbers with advanced skills and experience are also hired to work in commercial buildings and industrial facilities.
The origins of the plumbing profession date back to the age of the Roman Empire. Back then, lead was an essential material in plumbing and was called 'plumbum'. Early Roman plumbers use lead in installing conduits and drainpipes in roofs, as well as in baths and piping. The earliest tem for tradesmen who work with lead was plumbarius, which was then shortened to plumber.
The common systems plumbers install, maintain, and repair are:
Plumbers also fix and replace water equipment such as water meters, faucets, water heaters, showers, expansion tanks, UV sterilization lights, water purifiers, and garden sprinklers among others. Plumbers are also involved in planning and designing water system layouts in buildings. They determine where pipes should run and where to make hole fixtures in walls and floors; plumbers test the pipes and other water equipment to ensure their quality.
In designing plumbing system layouts for a building, a plumber must also consider safety regulations and standards mandated by law. In most cases, plumbers work with other professionals such as architects, civil engineers, electricians, and construction managers to make certain that their water system designs are not faulty and blend well with the overall design of a building or a commercial facility.
There were 349,320 plumbers working across the United States as of May 2011. In terms of plumbing salary, the median pay is estimated at $47,750 per annum. Those who are in the top 10% bracket are making $82,310 a year on the average or more. Plumbing specialists who are in the bottom 10% are paid an average wage of less than $28,310 annually.
There are quite a number of industries that require the expertise of plumbers. That said, plumber pay grades vary from employer to employer. Among the factors that affect salary rates for plumbers are the type of industry one is working in, the demand for plumbers, and the qualifications required for each vacancy.
In the United States, building contractors offer the highest employment rate for plumbers. About 240,120 professional plumbers are currently connected with building contractors and are earning $52,390, which is higher than the national average. Companies engaged in nonresidential building construction currently provide jobs for about 17,520 plumbers, who are paid with an average plumber salary of $55,770 annually. Utility system construction companies also offer substantial employment prospects for plumbers but the average pay rate of $47,910 a year is lower than the national figure.
Candidates who see income as the ultimate driving factor should consider working in industrial companies such as steel product manufacturers ($66,710), electric and power distributors ($66,580), foundries ($66,370), navigational and control instruments manufacturers ($64,800), and motor vehicle makers ($64,140). Jobs prospects, however, are relatively low in the said sectors and competition is expected to be very tight. Those with extensive experience in industrial and commercial plumbing and drainage have better chances of securing employment.
Other things to consider when choosing which industry to enter are the work loads, the working hours, occupational hazards, and the stress levels. These occupational aspects vary from employer to employer and also influence a plumber's salary. Knowing how these variables affect one's pay rate will help you decide which industry suits your skills, qualifications, and personal preferences.
Although plumbing is a regulated profession, there is no formal academic requirement one needs to satisfy in order to become a plumber. That said, many plumbers learn the trade by attending plumbing programs and courses in technical and vocational schools.
Plumbing apprenticeship programs typically take four to five years to complete. Technical education consists of 246 hours every year and about 1,700 to 2,000 hours paid hands-on training and instruction. The education of an apprentice plumber includes different piping systems, blueprint reading and analysis and plumbing codes and regulations. Apprentice plumbers also learn basic knowledge in mathematics, applied physics, and chemistry.
All plumbers must be duly licensed before they can practice in their trade. State and locality requirements vary but in most places, a plumber must spend four to five years working as a plumber apprentice before he or she can qualify for a license exam. A plumber must also become certified to qualify for complex tasks and assignments. A special license is needed before a plumber can work on gas lines.
Membership is not strictly required but will help a plumber become connected to other experts in the industry and attract potential employers and clients. Some of the legitimate plumber organizations are the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices (UA), American Water Works Association (AWWA), and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the plumber profession, along with the pipefitter and steamfitter occupation, will experience a 26% growth within the 2010-2020 decade. This growth is described as faster than the average for all occupations.
The demand for plumbers will increase due to the increasing population particularly in urban areas. The need to design better and effective drainage and potable water systems will increase as more and more residential building and commercial structures are built. Also, the International Residential Code's latest amendment that every residential building should be fitted with a fire sprinkler system will further fuel the need for plumbers.
A large cohort of veteran plumbers are also expected to retire within the next 10 years, which will open new spots for apprentice plumbers. Plumbers who have construction related skills such as welding and wiring will have better prospects in entering the construction and industrial sectors.
Plumbing professionals start their career as apprentices who work under the supervision of a master plumber. Apprenticeships take four to five years. Although they are still considered as on-the-job trainees, apprentices are paid a small salary for their work.
After the apprentice phase, certified and licensed plumbers can apply to virtually any industry that requires their expertise and skills. Most starting plumbers are hired by construction and architectural firms. Others are also employed by plumbing firms that are managed by master plumbers.
Gaining experience in the industry and acquiring news skills are necessary for advancement. Highly experienced plumbers who earned various certifications are promoted to higher positions within the company. Those with master certifications and special licenses can cross over to industrial plumbing and work in plants, refineries, foundries, and other industrial structures and facilities.
Plumbers who have built solid reputations and created connections with potential clients usually start their own plumbing firms. Some work as independent contractors and focus on residential and small-scale commercial plumbing while others organize groups of plumbers and peddle their services to a bigger corporate market.
Occupations related to the plumber profession are:
With a history tracing far back to the Roman Empire, the plumber profession is still seen to be a stable occupation for years to come. The plumbing industry is expected to grow in the near future as indicated by the current information and statistics. As technology advances and life becomes more complex, the need for effective water systems, drainage and septic structures still remain a priority in today's way of living. More than just making life easier, modern plumbers are also obligated with the responsibility to make modern living safer.