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A career in plumbing might not sound as glamorous as other career paths, but in reality, there are a number of exciting opportunities to uncover in this trade.
Plumbing is about way more than fixing and unclogging pipes—it’s about doing honest work that people appreciate and value. It’s a critical trade that keeps homes, businesses, and communities functioning smoothly. From repairing leaking pipes to designing complex plumbing systems, the work of plumbers is both essential and in-demand.
Whether you’re considering a career in plumbing or seeking to explore different avenues within the field, this blog will serve as your guide to the different types of plumbers, the responsibilities of each, and more.
Let’s explore your future career opportunities!
Types of Plumbers and Their Responsibilities
During the process of becoming a plumber, it’s natural to explore different areas in the field before eventually settling into one of the following specializations.
1. Residential Plumber
From routine maintenance to tackling emergency repairs, residential plumbers handle a wide range of tasks, including installing and repairing fixtures, maintaining water heaters, and addressing drainage issues.
These types of plumbers work directly with homeowners, landlords, and property managers to ensure proper water flow and drainage. They are the go-to experts when it comes to diagnosing plumbing issues, using appropriate tools and equipment, and implementing effective solutions.
Residential plumbers require excellent communication and customer service skills, technical skills, and problem-solving abilities.
2. Commercial Plumber
Commercial plumbers are similar to residential plumbers, however, they typically serve businesses, offices, and large-scale properties.
This type of plumber works on complex systems, such as designing and installing plumbing networks for office buildings, hotels, hospitals, and malls. They must possess a deep understanding of plumbing systems, including the ability to read blueprints, interpret technical drawings, and comprehend extensive piping layouts.
They should also have a strong knowledge of local and national plumbing codes and regulations. Specialized skills are required and span beyond those of residential plumbing, including working with industrial-grade equipment, such as backflow prevention systems, large water heaters, and high-pressure piping.
This plumbing career path is challenging but extremely rewarding for highly motivated individuals!
3. Industrial Plumbing
Industrial plumbers work in large-scale industrial buildings such as factories, manufacturing planets, power plants, and refineries. The type of plumbing in these buildings is typically more complex than what’s found in commercial buildings.
They work on plumbing systems that cater to the needs of those in these buildings, such as water supply lines and draining systems. Like commercial plumbers, those in this field need to stay up-to-date on rules and regulations, as well as be prepared to work alongside other professionals working in various trades such as HVAC.
Given the scale and complexity of their work, industrial plumbing is a field of plumbing for those willing to put in the work to become experts!
4. Sanitary Plumber
Of all the types of plumbers, the ones who deserve more credit are the sanitary plumbers who ensure wastewater travels safely to sewage plants. They maintain the pipes in bathrooms and related fixtures to minimize leaks and spills.
Sanitary plumbers differ from regular plumbing because they focus on sewerage and soil pipe systems. To avoid contamination, they must triple-check that these pipes remain separated from a building's water supply and waste systems.
5. Pipefitting and Sprinkler Fitting Plumber
Pipe and sprinkler fitters are another type of plumber that are essential in the industry. They’re responsible for installing pipes and sprinkler systems, connecting pre-existing plumbing, performing maintenance on these systems, and conducting inspections.
If you enjoy working on bigger-picture and outdoor projects, then this could be the field of plumbing that’s perfect for you! Those in this industry can expect to work in both commercial and residential settings.
6. Plumbing Contractor
Your beautiful home wouldn’t be complete without the help of construction plumbers. In fact, a plumbing contractor plays a crucial role in the planning, installation, and maintenance of plumbing systems across all types of buildings.
These types of plumbers oversee and coordinate plumbing projects from start to finish. From constructing/reconstructing a property’s water system, to installing gas connections, water heaters, and water filtration systems.
A plumbing contractor takes on a comprehensive role that encompasses planning, coordinating, installation, compliance, and maintenance of plumbing systems.
So, Is Plumbing a Good Career Path?
Let’s answer this by further breaking down some common plumber questions:
Question: Is Plumbing a Secure Field?
Answer: As long as humanity requires a steady supply of water, plumbers are going to be in-demand.
Plumbing companies receive numerous calls from clients every day for maintenance and repair work, as well as emergency services, on pipe systems in order to avoid clogging, leaks, and corrosion. All types of plumbers have a place in their community—nobody does what they do!
Question: Is There Room For Career Growth?
Answer: Absolutely! Getting into the trades offers career growth opportunities no matter if you’re a plumber, an electrician, or another type of contractor. When it comes to plumbing, the variety of plumbing career paths makes it possible for you to find a calling that is perfect for you, even switch if necessary.
Starting as a plumbing technician will equip you with experience and knowledge. Eventually, you may find yourself with the opportunity to become a project manager or open your own plumbing business. You can also choose to specialize in a specific area of the trade, such as the ones listed above.
Ultimately, your career growth will only be limited by your hard work and ambition. There are plenty of opportunities to move up in the field if you apply yourself!
Question: What Are the Benefits of a Plumbing Career?
Answer: One of the best parts about working in the trades—and as a plumber in particular—is that it pays quite well. While rates will depend on several factors, people will always be inclined to pay for your services if you are good at what you do.
Steady finances will open doors for you, whether it’s so you can buy a home and start a family or explore creative ideas in your free time. You will come to appreciate the financial freedom afforded to you as a plumber.
Question: Do I Need an Apprenticeship to Be a Plumber?
Answer: Completing a quality apprenticeship program after your secondary education will position you well to secure a high-paying plumbing job. The best way to secure one of these opportunities is by completing a pre-apprenticeship program!
All types of plumbers should look for a mentor to teach them the ropes of plumbing, including the nitty-gritty aspects. This hands-on experience is necessary so you know how to conduct yourself professionally when working with more clients.
Kickstart Your Plumbing Career With Skilled Trades College
Start your plumbing career today and unlock your future!
Get an in-depth introduction to the different types of plumbers when you enrol in a plumbing course at Skilled Trades College. Our pre-apprenticeship program shows you everything you need to know about the trades and plumbing industry, including task-specific skills, high-level job planning, and how to network as a professional within the space.
Enrol today or contact us to learn more about our plumbing pre-apprenticeship program.