Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems. 

They install pipes and fittings that carry water, gas, and other fluids and substances. They determine the necessary materials for a job, connect pipes, and test pressure to ensure that a pipe system is airtight and watertight. Their tools include drills, saws, welding torches, press fitting tools, and drain cleaning tools.



Plumber Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Most demand for plumbers will stem from new construction and the need to maintain and repair plumbing systems in existing residences and other buildings. Employment of sprinkler fitters is expected to increase as states continue to adopt changes to building codes that require the use of fire suppression systems.


The median annual wage for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was $56,330 in May 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Education, Training, and Certification

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn on the job through an apprenticeship. Some also attend vocational-technical school. Most states and some localities require plumbers to be licensed.

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to become a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter. Vocational-technical schools offer courses in pipe system design, safety, and tool use. They also offer welding courses that are required by some pipefitter and steamfitter apprenticeship training programs.

Prospective plumbers must follow New Hampshire’s licensing procedures. The state has a classification system including apprentice, journeyman, and master plumbers. However, the processes involved in becoming an apprentice, journeyman, or master plumber can be confusing — especially as it varies from state to state. How does New Hampshire handle plumbing contractor licensing? Here is a helpful guide.