Plumbers, Pipefitters, & Steamfitters
Also called: Drain Technician, Pipe Fitter, Plumber, Steamfitter
Produced by CareerOneStop
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Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters keep civilization in running water, sanitation, and heat for comfort and cleaning. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipe systems to transport water, chemicals, and waste. They use saws to make holes in floors and walls and pipe cutters to size pipe accurately. Plumbers work on water, drainage, and gas pipes in homes and businesses. They also install plumbing fixtures and appliances. They rescue homeowners from leaks, clogged drains, and malfunctioning septic systems. Pipefitters install and repair pipes that carry chemicals, acids, and gases— usually in power plants and industrial settings. Some install fire sprinkler systems. Steamfitters install pipe systems that move steam under high pressure; most work at college campus facilities and natural gas power plants. With high rates of injury on the job, precautions must be taken with common tasks such as lifting heavy materials, handling tools, and climbing ladders. Work schedules are full time, and may include nights, weekends, and emergency calls. A 4- to 5-year apprenticeship is typically required, combining paid on-the-job training with classroom study. A license is generally required for plumbers, and some states license pipefitters and gas line workers. Helpers assist experienced trades professionals, haul tools and materials, and clean work areas. They typically have a high school education, and learn on the job.
What they do:Assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems. Includes sprinkler fitters.
On the job, you would:
- Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications, using tools such as saws, cutting torches, pipe threaders, or pipe benders.
- Lay out full scale drawings of pipe systems, supports, or related equipment, according to blueprints.
- Inspect, examine, or test installed systems or pipe lines, using pressure gauge, hydrostatic testing, observation, or other methods.
Engineering and Technology
- building and construction
Math and Science
- arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Safety and Government
- public safety and security
- thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
- hold or move items with your hands
- keep your arm or hand steady
Ideas and Logic
- notice when problems happen
- use rules to solve problems
- listen and understand what people say
- communicate by speaking
- use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
- Drawing and drafting software
Analytical or scientific software
- Bentley Systems AutoPIPE
- Watter Hammer Software Hytran