California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters in California

May also be called: Gas Line Installers; Hot Water Heater Installers; and Sprinkling System Installers

What Would I Do?

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters* assemble, install, and repair pipe systems according to plans and plumbing codes. They work with piping systems that move liquid, gas, or semisolid material. Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters also install plumbing for rainwater capture, gray water, or solar panel systems.

Green Economy: Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters will play a crucial role in the green economy through retrofitting and the construction of new green buildings. They will install water-saving appliances and plumbing products to help with conservation efforts.

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters need physical strength and stamina. They frequently lift heavy pipes, stand for long periods, and work in uncomfortable or cramped positions. Most Plumbers work 35 to 40 hours per week. The workweek for union Plumbers varies with the local union.

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.


Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Plumber, Pipefitter, and Steamfitter may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters in California is $55,434 annually, or $26.65 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$39,995$55,434$75,528
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters typically receive benefits that include health insurance, vacation, and retirement plans. Self-employed Plumbers must provide for their own insurance and retirement. For union members, the benefit packages are negotiated in contracts between employers and unions.

What is the Job Outlook?

Most job openings will be created by the need to replace workers who retire or leave the field for other reasons. During economic downturns, the number of job openings may decline. However, with the increased focus on environmentally sustainable building and remodeling practices, there may be additional opportunities for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.

How Do I Qualify?

Most employers prefer to hire candidates with a high school diploma or the equivalent. The typical entry route into plumbing occupations is through the completion of a formal apprenticeship or vocational training program.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job listings also provide helpful local job leads. Union members report to their local union hiring hall for job referrals. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters