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What are the Different Job Options for Plumbers?

Plumber with tools doing reparation in the kitchen.

When I started my career 20 years ago, I thought I’d be working in residential homes for the rest of my life. Boy, was I wrong! There are so many job options for plumbers, and I’ve had the opportunity to work in various settings.

Here’s a look at some of the different jobs I’ve worked or had coworkers and friends who’ve worked:

Residential settings

Aerial view of residential neighborhood.

This is the most common setting that people think of when they think of plumbers. We work in people’s homes to fix various issues they’re having with their plumbing. This can be anything from a clogged drain to a broken pipe.

However, we do much more. For example, do you smell gas? That’s something you should never ignore! If you do, it’s time to call a professional plumber.

We’ll go out and test the air to see if there’s a gas leak. We’ll work to fix it as quickly as possible if there is. But it’s not just emergencies.

Are you ready to do some home renovations? You’ll need a plumber to help with that, too. We’ll help with your kitchen and bathroom upgrades.

Also, we can install the sprinkler system to keep your lawn looking green and gorgeous.

Commercial settings

A close-up of commercial building.

Did you know that plumbers also work in commercial settings? It’s true! We work in office buildings, stores, and restaurants.

We handle the same concerns as we do in residential properties on a larger scale. For example, we might have to unclog a drain in a restaurant kitchen that’s backed up with grease. We also work on commercial-grade appliances, like dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers.

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These require special care, and it takes a trained professional to maintain them. I spent a few years in commercial plumbing and have seen some exciting things. For example, I once had to snake a drain in a hotel that was backed up with… well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

Another time, I was called for a broken pipe in an office building. It sprayed water all over the staff. But, they got to go home and were paid for the day!

Industrial Jobs

I’ve never worked in industrial plumbing. It’s dirty, dangerous, and requires a high level of training. But, I know people who have, and it’s an interesting and very well-paid field. Industrial plumbers work in factories, power plants, and other hazardous environments.

They install and maintain piping systems that carry chemicals, acids, gases, and other dangerous materials. It’s not a job for everyone. But, if you’re up for the challenge, it can be an enriching career.

I had a friend once who had to repair a pipe in a chemical plant. She had to wear a Hazmat suit and was in a hazardous environment. But she was well-trained and knew what she was doing.

Anyone without the knowledge and skills could put themselves and the surrounding people in grave danger.

Different Jobs Within Plumbing

As you may have guessed, there are different tasks we can focus on or specialize in. Here are some plumbing specialties to consider:

Service Technician:

Service technician testing a furnace.

This position is the first thing people think of when they hear “plumber.” Mainly, plumbing repairs entail replacing or repairing piping that’s damaged. Service technicians are dispatched to homes and businesses to fix plumbing problems.

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Pipefitter:

Pipefitter installing system of heating.

Pipes are the lifeblood of a business. They transport everything, from water to gases, and their maintenance is critical. Installing, repairing, and maintaining these pipes is the job of a pipefitter. You may need more training for this one, but it can be a gratifying career.

Pipelayer:

Old pipelayer on a meadow in summer day.

The core of this task is laying the groundwork for future piping systems. Many find this a more challenging and exciting job than being a service technician.

Steamfitter:

This job is for those who like working with their hands. A steamfitter assembles, installs, and maintains piping systems that carry liquids and gases. It’s also a very specialized position that requires training and experience.

Sanitary Plumber:

Sanitary plumber doing renovation in kitchen home.

Plumbing specialists install and maintain pipes that transport water, sewage, and drainage in homes and businesses. This is a critical job that helps to keep our homes and businesses clean and safe.

Water Supply Plumber:

This is a specialty that’s focused on the installation and repair of piping for water systems. This includes everything from taps and faucets to water heaters and storage tanks.

Plumbing inspectors:

We work with local governments to ensure all the plumbing in new construction meets code. This is a vital job because it helps ensure the safety of the people who will live and work in the new building. There are many other specialties within the plumbing, but these are some of the most common.

No matter your specialty, there’s a place for you in this field. Now that you know a little more about the different job options for plumbers, you can decide if this is the right career. There are many opportunities out there, and it’s a stable and well-paid profession.

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So, if you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career, plumbing might be the perfect fit for you.