Pipe fitters, or fitters, install, repair, and maintain pipes that carry gases, acids, and chemicals. They typically work in a commercial, industrial, or manufactural environment. Pipe fitters commonly work in power plants or large office buildings. These professionals may also choose to work with a particular specialty within the job of pipefitting. Gas fitters work with pipes that carry natural gas for heating and cooling systems. They also service oxygen pipes in hospitals. Steam fitters commonly work at natural gas power plants serving pipes that move high pressure steam.
Pipe Fitter Job Education Requirements
Pipe fitters must have a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some technical schools offer apprenticeship training programs and educational courses that will help a pipe fitter learn the essentials of the trade, including pipe system design, welding, tool use, and safety. A pipe fitter's apprenticeship lasts 4 or 5 years. Each year must include 1,700 to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and 246 hours of technical education. After a successful apprenticeship, pipe fitters move up to journey worker status. With additional training, they can advance further to master status.
Pipe Fitter Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for plumbers, pipe fitters, and steam fitters will increase 21 percent over the 2012-2022 decade. This is much faster than the national average of 11 percent for all occupations. Job seekers with welding experience will find the best job opportunities in this field.
Pipe Fitter Job Salary Information
The mean annual wage for plumbers, pipe fitters, and steam fitters is $54,620. Metal ore mining is the highest-paying industry for this job with a mean annual wage of $77,260. The top paying states for this occupation are Oregon, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Alaska, all of which offer a mean annual wage of over $70,000.