Plumber vs Electrician: Which Trade Is Right for You?

Published On

14-09-2023

A plumber working on a sink (left) and an electrician inspecting wiring (right)

Plumber or electrician—which career is right for you? 

Both provide essential home and commercial services, meaning their skills will always be in demand. As such, both are paid well, too. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your interest and which of the two better aligns with your capabilities. 

However, determining what your interests and capabilities are can be a process that feels less than straightforward. So, to help you out, we’ve created this helpful rundown so you can better understand these two career paths. Let’s get into it! 

A Typical Day in the Life 

Of An Electrician

Electricians are always in demand. Many work a standard eight-hour day, but may need to work overtime as needed depending if they are contracted or self-employed. 

When on duty, an electrician will usually be busy with electrical work like the installation, repairs, and maintenance of electrical systems. They may also work closely with a building or engineering company to help with project design.

Some of their other responsibilities include:

  • Interpreting blueprints and technical diagrams
  • Pinpointing and repairing electrical plan discrepancies
  • Safety testing and troubleshooting
  • Performing general electrical maintenance

Of A Plumber

Plumbing careers are varied and rewarding. They also work a standard eight-hour day, unless they are self-employed and responding to calls on an as-needed basis. 

They perform installations and repairs of water systems and plumbing fixtures. This includes central heating, heat pumps, gas heaters, bathroom fixtures, washing machines, kitchen appliances, domestic gas appliances, and hot water tanks.

Some of their daily responsibilities

  • Analyzing blueprints and building plans to identify the layout of plumbing systems
  • Installing cold and hot water systems
  • Installing fixtures like air conditioners, sinks, gas stoves, dishwashers, and septic tanks
  • Installing and maintaining pipes
  • Resolving plumbing emergencies
  • Inspecting drainage systems and other household or commercial waterways
 Plumbers reading blueprints for industrial plumbing systems

How Long Does Training Take?

When you opt to undergo the training processes at the Skilled Trades College of Canada, training will take only 12 weeks. That goes for either the electrical or plumbing pre-apprenticeship programs

Whichever career path you choose to walk, you'll be job-ready in no time. 

Plumber Vs. Electrician Salary

Just like the training duration, the average salary of these two also runs in the same lane. 

Generally speaking, the median income for electricians in Canada is approximately $65,000 annually. Plumbers, on the other hand, make a median salary of approximately $60,000 per year. Established professionals in both these industries can expect to earn more, as pay will increase with seniority and reputation. 

Understanding The Skills of the Trade  

All skills can be acquired with enough education, grit, and patience. 

Both skilled plumbers and electricians alike need to be equipped with mathematical skills, theoretical prowess, and other fundamental types of adroitness to succeed. Let’s look at these aptitudes in more detail.

Essential Skills Needed for Plumbing

Basic Math Capabilities

Numbers are everywhere in plumbing. Basic math is needed to understand venting, fluid dynamics, water pressure, friction, gravity, and kinetic energy

Manual Dexterity and Physical Strength

There’s no way around it: plumbers need to be strong to work with heavy parts and equipment. Additionally, there will be a lot of blueprint reading, thread fittings, and tiny gauges that will prompt you to flex your ocular muscles. 

Problem Solving and Troubleshooting

Plumbers need the skills to be able to identify, diagnose, and repair plumbing issues in households and commercial setups. This must be done while following safety protocols and complying with non-negotiable building codes.   

Administrative Skills

Business and administrative skills are essential, especially if you choose to run your own business as an independent contractor. Brush up on computer knowledge to complete paperwork, purchase material, maintain financial records, and negotiate contracts.

Essential Skills Needed for Electrical Engineering

Advanced Math

Numbers are an ever-present element in the job of an electrician. From taking measurements to calculating voltages, power, and resistance, aspiring electricians will need to master the art of mathematics, physics, and algebra. 

Practical Experience

Electrical work involves a lot of situations requiring precision. Any qualified electrician worth their name will have the practical experience needed to stay calm in these situations and execute tasks to the best of their abilities.

Problem-Solving

A typical workday of an electrician entails using those math skills to tackle a variety of electrical work. Going beyond the laws of physics, sometimes, this job will require you to think outside the box to maintain electrical systems.   

Organization and Time Management

Electricians often find themselves working on large projects that require expert organization and time management skills. Great electricians can handle deadlines while ensuring their work is well-structured and delivered. 

Overlapping Soft Skills

Many of the skills we just discussed can be considered “hard skills”—those taught by others and practiced in the real world. However, many of the soft skills below are needed to succeed as either an electrician or a plumber. There are as follows: 

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Customer service skills 
  • Attention to Detail 
  • Ability to work under pressure
Coloured electrical wiring and equipment laid out on a wiring diagram

Walk the Path of Your Choice

The best answer to the plumber vs electrician debate is that both are great choices with massive value to be found, learned, and fostered in both industries. 

The best place to learn the skills we outlined is at Skilled Trades College of Canada. Our specialized apprenticeship programs last 12 weeks and get you the hands-on experience you need to walk into the workforce feeling confident and excited. 

Contact us to start your journey today

View our Courses

Get Job-Ready
in 12 weeks

9,281+

LIVES CHANGED

Scottie Barnes wearing a helmet

12,481+

WIRES PULLED

a person wearing a helmet

85,382+

2X4'S CUT

a person wearing a helmet

9,756+

PIPES LAYED

a person wearing a hard hat and working on a wood structure

9,281+

LIVES CHANGED

Scottie Barnes wearing a helmet

12,481+

WIRES PULLED

a person wearing a helmet

85,382+

2X4'S CUT

a person wearing a helmet

9,756+

PIPES LAYED

a person wearing a hard hat and working on a wood structure

9,281+

LIVES CHANGED

Scottie Barnes wearing a helmet

12,481+

WIRES PULLED

a person wearing a helmet

85,382+

2X4'S CUT

a person wearing a helmet

9,756+

PIPES LAYED

a person wearing a hard hat and working on a wood structure