Pipefitter jobs are a crucial part of our society functioning normally. What would we do if we didn’t have running water or gas to heat our homes? Pipefitter jobs also pay well and are part of a growing construction trades industry. Becoming a pipefitter is a great option for a military veteran who wants to work with their hands and make an honest living.
What Pipefitters Do
Pipefitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids and gases to and from homes, buildings and factories. In a typical day a pipefitter may be required to provide estimates for work, examine pipes for problems and then repair those pipes. A pipefitter must have the knowledge of what kind of pipes must be used for a specific job.
Pipefitters are commonly used to install more intricate, bigger pipe systems, like those of power plants. Plumbers can typically handle the work that is done in homes, but pipefitters are still sometimes needed for residential jobs. Pipefitters typically work on industrial jobs where pipes will be used to move gases, toxic liquids and acids. They also may be called on to work on heating systems for large buildings.
Work Environment of Pipefitter Jobs
Pipefitters work in houses, factories, buildings and other places where there are heating or septic systems. They are typically required to work in confined spaces and may have to lift heavy equipment. They use hand tools frequently. It is no surprise that pipefitters typically need to travel often, as they work on-site to fix and install pipe systems.
Pipefitters have one of the highest rates of illness and injury of any occupation. They may experience cuts from tools, burns from hot pipes and strains from heavy lifting or bending. Pipefitters typically work full time and may be called to handle emergency jobs at night and on weekends.
How to Become a Pipefitter
While most pipefitters begin their careers through an apprenticeship, some may start by attending a technical school to learn the trade. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically needed. You can attend a trade school where you will learn the basics of pipe construction, design and installation. You may also be required to complete welding courses to be accepted into an apprenticeship program.
Most pipefitters learn their trade through a 4 or 5 year apprenticeship. They will typically log 2,000 paid training hours and some classroom learning each year. The Home Builders Institute offers a pre-apprenticeship training program.
Some states require pipefitters to be licensed, and even acquire a specific license to work on gas lines.
Outlook for Pipefitter Jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a pipefitter as of May 2017 was $52,590. Pipefitter jobs are expected to rise 16% by 2026, which is much faster than the average occupation is expected to grow over the same time period. There is expected to be a high number of pipefitters who retire over the next 10 years, making pipefitting a great opportunity to get into.
Workers who have knowledge of Building Information Modeling (BIM) should have the most opportunities. Becoming a pipefitter is also a great career because the maintenance and repair of pipe systems still must be completed even when the economy is down.
AECOM is Hiring Pipefitters!
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