What it's like to be a plumber

Plumbers can work in a variety of places, including homes, businesses, or construction sites.

Plumber career snapshot

Median pay

$59,880 ($28.79/hr)

Required degrees


10-year job growth

5% (Average)

Plumbers have the option to work for companies that specialize in residential projects, commercial projects, or both. Plumbing is used almost everywhere, in every building, so any location is an option for a plumber to work in.

Plumbing companies range from small companies with a few employees to huge companies with hundreds or thousands of employees. When becoming a plumber, you will have the option to choose which environment is best for you. If you do not like your initial choice, you can always choose to switch to one of the alternatives later on.

Most plumbers work typical business hours but may have to be on call and work odd hours if there are emergencies—such as a leak. Additionally, plumbers may have to work long hours when a specific job or set of jobs requires it.

Plumbing involves hard and physically demanding work. This type of work environment can be stressful for people who are not accustomed to this type of work but, at the same time, can be extremely rewarding for people who like working with their hands and moving around throughout the day. This aspect of the work environment is important to consider when deciding whether or not plumbing is the right career path for you.

Plumbers install, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair plumbing systems in a variety of situations. Some projects involve installing systems for new construction, while others involve modifying existing systems for a renovation. Some projects require the plumber to troubleshoot and/or repair a malfunctioning system.

Here are some of the main responsibilities of a plumber:

  • Read and interpret blueprints for plumbing installations and renovations
  • Install, maintain, and repair plumbing systems and fixtures
  • Prepare cost estimates
  • Troubleshoot malfunctioning systems
  • Incorporate various household appliances with the plumbing system
  • Cut, weld, and assemble pipes, fittings, tubing, and fixtures