PIPEFITTERS install, maintain, and repair both high- and low-pressure pipe systems that are used in manufacturing, in the generation of electricity, and in heating and cooling buildings. Pipefitters work with systems that move water, dispose of waste, bring gas to stoves and furnaces, and that supply air-conditioning. They also work with systems in power plants that carry the steam that powers huge turbines, and systems in manufacturing plants that move material through the production process. They assemble, install, and maintain pipes that carry liquids, steam compressed air, gases, and fluids needed for processing, manufacturing, heating, and cooling.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $52,000 average per year ($25.00 per hour)
- A large occupation (404,100 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.6% per year)
Virtually all PIPEFITTERS undergo some type of apprenticeship training. Apprenticeships, both union and nonunion, consist of 4 to 5 years of on-the-job training, in addition to at least 144 hours annually of related classroom instruction. Applicants for apprenticeship must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Armed forces training in pipefitting is considered very good preparation.