Jobs for Plumbers

What do plumbers do?

Plumbers install and repair pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and wastewater disposal in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. This involves dealing with clean drinking water, sanitation, heating systems etc. Unblocking drains and toilets can be a dirty job indeed but it's all part of a day in the life of a plumber.

As a self-employed Plumber with your own business you can expect to earn good wages (?30-?40k in the UK) and as an employee around ?25k. But it really depends upon how many hours you put in. The advantages of being self employed are of course that you work the hours of your choosing though the nature of the job and emergency work can mean working very unsociable and long hours.

Plumbers need to:

  • Read blueprints so they can understand the layout of plumbing systems, water supply networks and waste and drainage systems in properties.
  • Install, repair and maintain domestic, commercial or industrial plumbing fixtures and systems.
  • Locate and mark positions for pipe connections, passage holes and fixtures in walls and floors
  • Measure, cut, bend and thread pipes using hand and power tools or machines.
  • Test pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
  • Communicate with colleagues, members of the public and other trades and contractors
  • Cost and estimate the work to be carried out.

What qualifications do I need to be a plumber?

The requirements for being a plumber vary from country to country. Google ?Plumber training and your country of residence? for details of their individual requirements. The training can take the form of college courses (up to three years long) in some cases with a proportion of that time spent on a work placement or as full time apprenticeships.

Good qualifications in Maths and Science are usually required to get onto the courses, as you need to be able to demonstrate you are academically capable of the aspects of plumber training that require an understanding of those subjects. Colleges that offer plumbing courses want to make sure that they take on those who are suited to the course to reduce the number of dropouts.

Other skills a plumber needs:

  • A head for heights,
  • The ability to work in cramped conditions i.e. under sinks!
  • Stamina and strength as the work can be very physically demanding
  • A strong constitution as some of the work will involve getting dirty and coming into contact with raw sewage.
  • Problem solving ability
  • Good IT and technology skills and a commitment to remain up-to-date with changing trends and technologies within the industry.
  • Sound judgment
  • Honesty and professionalism. There are enough 'cowboys' out there; you don't need to be another!
  • Learn to use many tools and equipment in a safe and effective way.
  • A fast learner as some of the training will be on the job and you can't afford to make the same mistake twice. The customer will not appreciate it.

More resources:

Plumbing careers in England

USA site with forum, advice, jobs etc

Australian site for plumbers