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Summary Report for:
47-3015.00 - Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Help plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, or pipelayers by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.

Sample of reported job titles: Drain Technician, Gas Fitter, Helper, Irrigation Installation Specialist, Irrigation Technician, Plumber's Helper, Service Technician, Sprinkler Fitter, Sprinkler Installer, Sprinkler Repair Technician

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Tasks  |  Technology Skills  |  Tools Used  |  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


  • Measure, cut, thread and assemble new pipe, placing the assembled pipe in hangers or other supports.
  • Cut or drill holes in walls or floors to accommodate the passage of pipes.
  • Perform rough-ins, repair and replace fixtures and water heaters, and locate, repair, or remove leaking or broken pipes.
  • Assist pipe fitters in the layout, assembly, and installation of piping for air, ammonia, gas, and water systems.
  • Cut pipe and lift up to fitters.
  • Fit or assist in fitting valves, couplings, or assemblies to tanks, pumps, or systems, using hand tools.
  • Requisition tools and equipment, select type and size of pipe, and collect and transport materials and equipment to work site.
  • Mount brackets and hangers on walls and ceilings to hold pipes, and set sleeves or inserts to provide support for pipes.
  • Excavate and grade ditches, and lay and join pipe for water and sewer service.
  • Disassemble and remove damaged or worn pipe.
  • Clean shop, work area, and machines, using solvent and rags.
  • Install gas burners to convert furnaces from wood, coal, or oil.
  • Fill pipes with sand or resin to prevent distortion, and hold pipes during bending and installation.
  • Immerse pipe in chemical solution to remove dirt, oil, and scale.
  • Clean and renew steam traps.

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Technology Skills

  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Tools Used

  • Adjustable widemouth pliers — Expanding-jaw pliers; Water pump pliers
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Air compressors
  • Alternating current AC arc welder — Alternating current AC welding equipment
  • Augers
  • Backhoes — Tractors with backhoe attachments
  • Ball peen hammer — Ball peen hammers
  • Bandsaw wheel — Vertical bandsaws
  • Bench vises — Bench chain vises
  • Blocks or pulleys — Block and tackle equipment; Pulleys
  • Blow torch — Butane torches; Propane torches; Torches
  • Bolt cutters
  • Boring or sinking machinery — Boring machines; Horizontal boring machines
  • Box end wrenches — Ratcheting box wrenches
  • Calipers
  • Caulking guns
  • Circuit tracers — Wire tracers
  • Compactors
  • Deburring tool — Deburring tools
  • Detection apparatus for non metallic objects — Line locators; Transmitters
  • Dewatering pumps — Utility pumps
  • Diagonal cut pliers — Diagonal cutting pliers
  • Diaphragm pumps — Test pumps
  • Digital camcorders or video cameras — Video diagnostic tools
  • Direct current DC arc welder
  • Drain or pipe cleaning equipment — Drain cleaning cables; Drain cleaning machines; Hand spinners; Plumbers' snakes (see all 9 examples)
  • Drain or toilet plunger — Plungers; Vacuum plungers
  • Dredgers — Dredges
  • Drill press or radial drill — Drill presses
  • Dump trucks
  • Explosimeters
  • Flat hand file — Flat files
  • Flow sensors — Flow gauges
  • Fluid regulators — Pipe freezing kits; Water stoppers
  • Forklifts
  • Gas detectors — Gas leak detection devices
  • Gas generators — Generators
  • Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus — Plasma cutting guides; Torch cutter guides
  • Graders
  • Hacksaw — Hacksaws; Mini hacksaws
  • Hammer drills — Rotary hammers
  • Hand reamer — Reamers
  • Hex keys — Allen wrenches; Hex wrenches
  • Hoists — Chain falls; Tirfors; Tuggers
  • Hole saws — Hole cutting tools
  • Hose cutter — Gasket cutters
  • Hydraulic truck cranes — Hydraulic cranes
  • Impact hammers
  • Impact wrenches — Hydraulic valve turners
  • Inspection mirror — Telescopic inspection mirrors
  • Integrated tool carriers — Tractor pipe carrier attachments
  • Jacks — Manual screw jacks; Pipeline jacks
  • Ladders
  • Laser measuring systems — Pipe lasers
  • Leak testing equipment — Trutest smoke detectors
  • Level sensors or transmitters — Transit levels
  • Levels — Carpenters' levels; Laser levels; Split bubble levels; Two-hole pins (see all 8 examples)
  • Light trucks or sport utility vehicles — Light pickup trucks
  • Liquid leak detectors — Ultrasonic leak detectors
  • Locking pliers — Channel lock pliers
  • Manlift or personnel lift — Manlifts
  • Metal band sawing machine — Bandsaws
  • Metal detectors — Magnetic locators; Null locators; Rebar locators
  • Metal inert gas welding machine — Metal inert gas MIG welders
  • Metal markers or holders — Centering head tools; Magnetic circle layout tools; Radius markers
  • Moisture meters
  • Mud pumps — Sand pumps
  • Nut drivers — Universal nut wrenches
  • Offset socket wrenches — Hollow core socket wrenches
  • Ohmmeters
  • Oil gun — Oilers
  • Open end wrenches — Crescent wrenches
  • Pipe bending mandrel — Pipe bending mandrels
  • Pipe bending tools — Manual benders; Pipe benders; Tube bending springs
  • Pipe extractors
  • Pipe layer — Pipelayers
  • Pipe or tube cutter — Pipe cutters; Pipe cutting machines; Tubing cutters; Wide roll pipe cutters (see all 8 examples)
  • Pipe reamer — Spiral ratchet pipe reamers; Straight-fluted pipe reamers
  • Pipe vises — Aligning clamps; Welding clamps
  • Pipe wrenches — End pipe wrenches; Offset pipe wrenches; Straight pipe wrenches
  • Pneumatic drill — Pneumatic drills
  • Pneumatic grinders — Air operated grinders; Angle air grinders; Pipe beveling machines
  • Pneumatic hammer — Air hammers
  • Pneumatic sanding machines — Sandblasters
  • Power drills — Cordless drills; Direct tap machines; Right-angle drills
  • Power flaring tool — Flaring tools
  • Power grinders — Offset grinders; Pedestal grinders; Portable grinders; Seat dressers (see all 7 examples)
  • Power saws — Circular saws; Concrete saws; Cutoff saws; Reciprocating pipe saws (see all 5 examples)
  • Power screwguns — Cordless screwdrivers
  • Pressure indicators — Air pressure gauges; Heavy duty water pressure gauges; Maximum reading water pressure gauges; Water pressure gauges (see all 6 examples)
  • Pressure or steam cleaners — Rodders; Root ranger jetter nozzles; Water jetters
  • Pry bars — Crowbars
  • Pullers — Compression sleeve pullers; Faucet handle pullers; Faucet stem and cartridge pullers; Tub drain removers
  • Ratchets — Ratchet wrenches
  • Round file — Rat-tail files
  • Safety harnesses or belts — Safety harnesses
  • Scaffolding
  • Screwdrivers — Impact screwdrivers; Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Sewage pumps
  • Sheet metal grooving machine — Roll groovers
  • Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine — Shielded arc welding tools
  • Shovels — Narrow mouth shovels; Round point shovels
  • Sledge hammer — Sledgehammers
  • Slings — Belting slings
  • Slip or groove joint pliers — Slip joint pliers
  • Soldering iron — Soldering equipment; Soldering irons
  • Specialty wrenches — Chain wrenches; Plumbers' pliers; Spud wrenches; Water heater element removal wrenches (see all 21 examples)
  • Spot welding machine — Portable welding machines
  • Square file — Thread repair files
  • Staple guns
  • Strap wrenches — Rubber strap wrenches
  • Sump pumps
  • Swaging tools
  • Tachometers — Hand tachometers
  • Tampers — Powered tampers
  • Tape measures — Measuring tapes
  • Tapping machine attachment — Tapping tools
  • Thermographs — Non-contact infrared thermometers
  • Threading die — Die heads for threading machines
  • Threading dies — Die heads for plastic pipe/conduit; Pipe threaders
  • Threading machine — Pipe threading machines
  • Tinners snips — Tin snips
  • Tongs — Chain tongs
  • Torx keys — Four-in-one keys; Shut-off keys; Water meter keys
  • Tracer or duplicating or contouring lathe — Lathes
  • Track excavators — Excavators
  • Track loaders — Tractors with loader attachments
  • Trenching machines — Cable plows; Trenchers
  • Tube end finisher — Facing machines; Tube crimping tools
  • Tungsten inert gas welding machine — Tungsten inert gas TIG welding equipment
  • Two way radios
  • Vacuum gauges
  • Vibration testers — Vibration analyzers
  • Voltage or current meters — Amp meters; Voltmeters
  • Water pumps — Ditch pumps; Fill pumps
  • Water samplers
  • Welder torch — Brazing equipment
  • Welding masks — Welding hoods
  • Wheel bulldozers — Bulldozers
  • Wheel loaders
  • Winches
  • Wire brushes — Air wire brushes; Motor-driven brushes; Pneumatic wire brushes
  • Wire or cable cutter — Cable saws

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • 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.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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No skills met the minimum score.

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.

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Work Activities

  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • 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.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • 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.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • 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).
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • 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.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Install plumbing or piping.
  • Cut metal components for installation.
  • Maintain plumbing structures or fixtures.
  • Cut openings in existing structures.
  • Drill holes in construction materials.
  • Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly.
  • Assist skilled construction or extraction personnel.
  • Assemble products or production equipment.
  • Move construction or extraction materials to locations where they are needed.
  • Install building fixtures.
  • Order construction or extraction materials or equipment.
  • Select construction materials.
  • Dig holes or trenches.
  • Remove worn, damaged or outdated materials from work areas.
  • Clean equipment or facilities.

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Work Context

  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 64% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 11% responded “Never.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 44% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Contact With Others — 53% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 54% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 39% responded “Important.”
  • Time Pressure — 56% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 46% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 67% responded “40 hours.”
  • Physical Proximity — 47% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Telephone — 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 21% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 25% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 66% responded “Important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 32% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 28% responded “Very important results.”
  • Consequence of Error — 32% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 39% responded “Fairly important.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 38% responded “About half the time.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 37% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 32% responded “Never.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 22% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 27% responded “Very high responsibility.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, forest firefighters, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
Not available High school diploma or equivalent Help
Not available Post-secondary certificate Help
Not available Master's degree

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Interest code: R   Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.

  • 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.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • 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.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Work Values

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2017) $14.37 hourly, $29,890 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
Employment (2016) 56,000 employees
Projected growth (2016-2026) Much faster than average (15% or higher) Much faster than average (15% or higher)
Projected job openings (2016-2026) 9,500
State trends Employment Trends
Top industries (2016)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 wage data external site and 2016-2026 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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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.

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