Summary Report for:
47-2152.01 - Pipe Fitters and Steamfitters
Lay out, assemble, install, or maintain pipe systems, pipe supports, or related hydraulic or pneumatic equipment for steam, hot water, heating, cooling, lubricating, sprinkling, or industrial production or processing systems.
Sample of reported job titles: Equipment Service Associate (ESA), Fire Sprinkler Service Technician, Journeyman Pipe Fitter, Journeyman Pipefitter, Machine Repairman, Pipe Fitter, Pipe Welder, Pipefitter, Sprinkler Fitter, Steamfitter
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications, using tools such as saws, cutting torches, pipe threaders, or pipe benders.
- Lay out full scale drawings of pipe systems, supports, or related equipment, according to blueprints.
- Assemble or secure pipes, tubes, fittings, or related equipment, according to specifications, by welding, brazing, cementing, soldering, or threading joints.
- Measure and mark pipes for cutting or threading.
- Inspect, examine, or test installed systems or pipe lines, using pressure gauge, hydrostatic testing, observation, or other methods.
- Plan pipe system layout, installation, or repair, according to specifications.
- Attach pipes to walls, structures, or fixtures, such as radiators or tanks, using brackets, clamps, tools, or welding equipment.
- Modify, clean, or maintain pipe systems, units, fittings, or related machines or equipment, using hand or power tools.
- Select pipe sizes, types, or related materials, such as supports, hangers, or hydraulic cylinders, according to specifications.
- Cut or bore holes in structures, such as bulkheads, decks, walls, or mains, prior to pipe installation, using hand or power tools.
- Install automatic controls to regulate pipe systems.
- Shut off steam, water, or other gases or liquids from pipe sections, using valve keys or wrenches.
- Remove and replace worn components.
- Inspect work sites for obstructions or holes that could cause structural weakness.
- Install fixtures, appliances, or equipment designed to reduce water or energy consumption.
- Install pipe systems to support alternative energy-fueled systems, such as geothermal heating and cooling systems.
- Install or test gray water systems, such as recycling, treatment, or irrigation systems.
- Prepare cost estimates for clients.
- Operate motorized pumps to remove water from flooded manholes, basements, or facility floors.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Adjustable wrenches
- Air compressors
- Alternating current AC arc welder — Alternating current AC welding equipment
- Ball peen hammer — Ball peen hammers
- Bandsaw wheel — Vertical bandsaws
- Blocks or pulleys — Block and tackle equipment; Pulleys
- Blow torch — Air-acetylene torches; Cutting torches; Propane torches
- Bolt cutters
- Box end wrenches
- Circuit tracers — Wire tracers
- Cold chisels
- Conventional truck cranes — Truck cranes
- Cutting die — Metal cutting dies
- Deburring tool — Deburring tools
- Demolition hammers — Pavement stompers; Power hammers
- Depth gauges — Pit depth gauges
- Desktop computers
- Direct current DC arc welder
- Drill press or radial drill — Drill presses
- Flow sensors — Flow gauges
- Fluid regulators — Water stoppers
- Gas generators — Generators
- Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus — Oxyacetylene welding equipment; Plasma cutting guides; Torch cutter guides
- Hacksaw — Hand hacksaws; Power hacksaws
- Hand reamer — Reamers
- Heat guns
- Hex keys — Allen wrenches
- Hoists — Chain falls; Tirfors; Tuggers
- Hole saws — Hole cutting tools
- Hydraulic truck cranes — Hydraulic cranes
- Impact wrenches — Hydraulic valve turners
- Jacks — Pipeline jacks
- Laser measuring systems — Pipe lasers
- Laser printers
- Level sensors or transmitters — Transit levels
- Levels — Automatic levels; Laser levels; Pocket levels; Two-hole pins (see all 7 examples)
- Liquid leak detectors — Leak-testing gauges
- Locking pliers
- Manlift or personnel lift — Manlifts
- Metal detectors — Null locators
- Metal inert gas welding machine — Metal inert gas MIG welders
- Metal markers or holders — Centering head tools; Magnetic circle layout tools; Radius markers
- Micrometers — Quality control QC welders' gauges
- Mill saw file — Single-cut mill saw files
- Mud pumps
- Notebook computers
- Open end wrenches — Crescent wrenches
- Personal computers
- Pipe bending mandrel — Pipe bending mandrels
- Pipe bending tools — Manual pipe benders
- Pipe or tube cutter — Pipe cutters; Polyvinyl chloride PVC cutters
- Pipe vises — Stands; Welding clamps
- Pipe wrenches
- Plumb bobs
- Pneumatic grinders — Air operated grinders; Angle air grinders; Pneumatic pipe bevelers
- Pneumatic hammer — Jackhammers
- Power drills
- Power flaring tool — Pipe flaring tools
- Power grinders — Offset grinders; Pedestal grinders; Portable grinders; Stationary grinders
- Power saws — Circular saws; Reciprocating saws
- Pressure indicators — Hydrostatic testers; Pressure gauges
- Pry bars
- Ratchets — Jam-proof ratchet threaders
- Safety harnesses or belts — Safety harnesses
- Saws — Metal hand saws
- Screwdrivers — Flat head screwdrivers; Impact screwdrivers; Phillips head screwdrivers
- Shears — Pipe fabrication shears
- Sheet metal grooving machine — Roll groovers
- Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine — Shielded arc welding tools
- Skid steer loaders — Skip loaders
- Slings — Material-hoisting slings
- Slip or groove joint pliers — Slip joint pliers
- Soldering iron — Soldering equipment
- Specialty wrenches — Basin wrenches; Chain wrenches; Monkey wrench sets
- Spot welding machine — Portable welding machines
- Squares — Combination squares; Framing squares
- Strap wrenches — Nylon strap wrenches
- Tachometers — Hand tachometers
- Tape measures — Measuring tapes
- Taps — Metal cutting taps
- Threading dies — Drophead dies; Pipe threaders
- Threading machine — Pipe threading machines
- Trenching machines — Trenchers
- Tungsten inert gas welding machine — Tungsten inert gas TIG welding equipment
- Utility knives
- Voltage or current meters — Amp meters
- Water pumps
- Water samplers
- Welding masks — Welding hoods
- Wheel loaders — Loaders
- Wire brushes — Air wire brushes; Pneumatic wire brushes
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — AutoPIPE software; COADE CAESAR II; Pipepro Pipefitting software; Watter Hammer Software Hytran
- Computer aided design CAD software — AEC Design Group CADPIPE; Pipe 2D software; ViziFlow software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Project management software — Piping construction costs estimation software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel ; PipingOffice software
- Word processing software
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- 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.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Gross Body Coordination — The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
- Gross Body Equilibrium — The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Fabricate parts or components.
- Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly.
- Mark reference points on construction materials.
- Plan layout of construction, installation, or repairs.
- Clean equipment or facilities.
- Operate pumps or compressors.
- Inspect plumbing systems or fixtures.
- Remove worn, damaged or outdated materials from work areas.
- Cut metal components for installation.
- Inspect work sites to identify potential environmental or safety hazards.
- Create construction or installation diagrams.
- Weld metal components.
- Estimate construction project costs.
- Install plumbing or piping.
- Maintain plumbing structures or fixtures.
- Select construction materials.
- Test green technology installations to verify performance.
- Install gauges or controls.
- Drill holes in construction materials.
- Install green plumbing or water handling systems.
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 90% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 86% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 64% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to High Places — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 51% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 53% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Very important results.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 39% responded “More than half the time.”
- Telephone — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 46% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 67% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 40% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 41% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Consequence of Error — 46% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 36% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 30% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Level of Competition — 48% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Spend Time Keeping or Regaining Balance — 42% responded “Less than half the time.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related 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.|
|Job 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.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||Post-secondary certificate|
|Not available||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Not available||Less than high school diploma|
Interest code: RC
- 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.
- 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.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
Employment data collected from Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
Industry data collected from Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
|Median wages (2015)||$24.34 hourly, $50,620 annual|
|Employment (2014)||425,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||105,200|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) , 12750 Merit Dr., Suite 350, Dallas, TX 75251. Phone: (214) 349-5965. Fax: (214) 343-8898.
- Home Builders Institute (HBI) , 1201 15th St. NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Phone: (800) 795-7955. Fax: (202) 266-8999.
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) , 1385 Piccard Dr., Rockville, MD 20850. Phone: (301) 869-5800. Fax: (301) 990-9690.
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) , 1201 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. Phone: (800) 368-5242.
- National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) , 40 Jon Barrett Rd., Patterson, NY 12563. Phone: (845) 878-4200.
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) , 180 S. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046. Phone: (800) 533-7694. Fax: (703) 237-7442.