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Details for Plumbers


Assemble, install, and repair pipes, fittings, and fixtures of heating, water, and drainage systems, according to specifications and plumbing codes.


  • Assemble pipe sections, tubing and fittings, using couplings, clamps, screws, bolts, cement, plastic solvent, caulking, or soldering, brazing and welding equipment.
  • Fill pipes or plumbing fixtures with water or air and observe pressure gauges to detect and locate leaks.
  • Review blueprints and building codes and specifications to determine work details and procedures.
  • Prepare written work cost estimates and negotiate contracts.
  • Study building plans and inspect structures to assess material and equipment needs, to establish the sequence of pipe installations, and to plan installation around obstructions such as electrical wiring.
  • Keep records of assignments and produce detailed work reports.
  • Perform complex calculations and planning for special or very large jobs.
  • Locate and mark the position of pipe installations, connections, passage holes, and fixtures in structures, using measuring instruments such as rulers and levels.
  • Measure, cut, thread, and bend pipe to required angle, using hand and power tools or machines such as pipe cutters, pipe-threading machines, and pipe-bending machines.
  • Install pipe assemblies, fittings, valves, appliances such as dishwashers and water heaters, and fixtures such as sinks and toilets, using hand and power tools.
  • Cut openings in structures to accommodate pipes and pipe fittings, using hand and power tools.
  • Hang steel supports from ceiling joists to hold pipes in place.
  • Repair and maintain plumbing, replacing defective washers, replacing or mending broken pipes, and opening clogged drains.
  • Direct workers engaged in pipe cutting and preassembly and installation of plumbing systems and components.
  • Install underground storm, sanitary and water piping systems and extend piping to connect fixtures and plumbing to these systems.
  • Clear away debris in a renovation.
  • Install oxygen and medical gas in hospitals.
  • Use specialized techniques, equipment, or materials, such as performing computer-assisted welding of small pipes, or working with the special piping used in microchip fabrication.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Related Careers

  • Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, and Systems Assemblers
  • Boilermakers
  • Construction Carpenters
  • Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
  • Pipe Fitters and Steamfitters
  • Rail Car Repairers
  • Refractory Materials Repairers, Except Brickmasons
  • Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters
Wages for this career
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