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Career Outlook for Individuals with a Degree or Certificate in Plumbing Technology

Career News February 19, 2016

Degrees in plumbing technology and related professions have become increasingly popular in recent years. In this article, we shall look at the main career information for a degree program in plumbing technology, job growth rate, salary details for plumbers and related professions.

Overview of Degree or Certificate Programs in Plumbing Technology

A profession as a pipe layer, steamfitter or plumber requires some form of training. Usually, these professions involve working with pipes or any tools and equipment that involves transporting or draining water, gases and other types of liquids. This explains why it is important to get some education or background training before joining the profession. Education can be offered at both certificate and degree level as you will see below.

Career Steamfitter, Plumber, and Pipefitter Pipe Layers
Education details High school diploma or apprenticeship (GED) High school diploma, apprenticeship, GED, or associate’s degree
Additional requirements Certificate, state and contractor’s license for advancement Apprenticeship program
Estimated job growth rate (2012) 21% 21%
Average salary in 2012 $54,620 $40,730

Career Options for those with a Plumbing Technology Certificate or Degree

Generally, jobs for people with a certificate or degree in Plumbing technology are found within the business, factories and residential homes areas. Moreover, graduates have several career paths to choose from, notably, a job as steamfitter, pipe layer or pipe fitter.


Their work revolves around installing, repairing and maintaining piping systems often used to transport or drain liquids and gases out of buildings. They are trained to fix pipes into heating and cooling systems, washing machines, bathtubs, toilets and water heaters. In most cases, plumbers work with hand tools such as hammers and saws. However, they can at times use complex equipment when determining things such as the pressure in the liquids being transported.

Plumbers may also find work in newly constructed buildings where they fix and install the piping systems. In addition, plumbers may also work alongside contractors where they help plan the plumbing systems for the buildings to be constructed. Also, note that plumbers are required to have some skills on reading and interpreting blueprints and building codes before getting employed.

Pipe Layer

They mainly focus on preparing industrial piping systems; for example, in city sewer systems upgrading or water treatment. Pipe layers tend to work in groups especially because most of the pipes that they lay out are enormous and long in size. Most of these pipes also require proper handling when laying them out. In addition, pipe layers are also responsible for preparing trenches and holes where the piping systems are to be layered out under the ground. They usually use powerful torches and other equipment to help them fix the piping systems with ease. They may also work alongside plumbers to test if the piping systems are working fine after they are installed.

Job Outlook and Salary Details

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for plumbers and pipe-fitters are expected to grow at a rate of 21% within the next few years. On the other hand, the BLS notes that in 2014, a pipefitter, plumber or steamfitter earned $54,620 while pipe layers earned $40,730 annually.

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