Plumbers are skilled craftsmen who install, repair and alter pipe systems that carry gases, water, and other liquids required for sanitation, stormwater, industrial production, and other uses. They install plumbing fixtures, appliances, bathtubs, basins, sinks, showers, and grease line systems. They work from blueprints and working drawings to determine materials required for installation. They cut and thread pipe using pipe cutters, cutting torches, and pipe threading machines.
Plumbers may have to work indoors or outdoors on a ladder or scaffold, underground in a trench, a crawl space under a building, or in the unfinished basement of a new building. Some of the work is dirty and messy in dusty or muddy conditions. The work is active and strenuous, involving standing, bending, crawling, lifting, pulling, and pushing, and is often done in strict accordance with the state plumbing and mechanical code regulations.
Aptitude and Interest
A plumber works to solve a variety of problems. As in most service occupations, plumbers need to get along well with all kinds of people, and they can get called out during evenings, weekends, or holidays to perform their job.
To become a skilled plumber, training is essential. It can be acquired informally through “learning-by-working,” company on-the-job training programs, trade or vocational/ technical schools, unilaterally (management or labor) sponsored trainee programs, registered labor-management apprenticeship programs, or a combination of the above. It is generally accepted that more formalized training programs give more comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include English, math, drafting, blueprint reading, physics, and chemistry.