Finding a new career doesn’t always involve deep research into abnormal psychology, quantum physics or string theory. Sometimes, a new path in life is starting you right in the face and you’ll find it where you least expected it.

One field that will never run out of necessary human employees is the field of plumbing.

So long as sewage systems and drainage operates, a plumber will always find employment.

And with it, a steady line of work that might not be as glamorous as some other occupations but will keep you working.

We’ll be taking a look at a plumber salary and how you can find your way into a career.


Working as a Plumber

If you’ve been raised on Super Mario Bros, we will take this time to inform you that plumbers don’t typically encounter rogue turtles and kidnapped royal family members during a typical day on the job.

Plumbers will start by drawing up a cost estimate for clients, which might change depending on the nature of the job situation and how long the actual project takes vs. how much time was given during the estimate.

Plumbers must know how to interpret blueprints and follow zoning codes established by local and state governments.

As the job moves forward, they will choose the correct materials and equipment necessary to complete the job at hand. Fixtures and pipes are placed in new buildings, and existing infrastructures are repaired if there is no need for an outright replacement.  

As part of a regular maintenance operation, plumbers inspect and tests piping systems that are already installed. If a malfunction occurs, troubleshooting takes place to determine the root cause, and if possible, parts are repaired. When repairs are impossible, it’s up to a plumber to find replacement parts and patch up the necessary areas.

Plumbers are needed in every area of modern life.

On top of private homes and residences, any building occupied by the public will require a piping system for drainage and sewage. Plumbers can take contracts with office buildings, libraries, hospitals, university dormitories, and correctional facilities.

How to Become a Plumber

Becoming a plumber requires a high school diploma for starters. Once finished with high school (or after earning a GED or equivalent), plumbers will begin an on-the-job apprenticeship.


Typically, this will last for four to five years, depending on the number of hours needed to complete the program. Classroom topics taught during the apprenticeship can include blueprint reading, safety codes, and regulations for local plumbing ordinances. Unions and businesses are in charge of apprenticeships.

Once a plumber gains several years of experience, they might be eligible to earn the title of master plumber. Usually seen on construction sites, master plumbers can develop their own sets of blueprints that are utilized to build new plumbing infrastructures.

By using a master plumber, building owners not only ensure that building codes are followed. They also maintain a stable budget, and don’t interfere with other building systems, such as electrical wiring or fiber optic cables.

The Average Plumber Salary

The all-important question: how much does a plumber actually make? Even though it doesn’t require as much education as other careers, you can earn a solid living if you are skilled at your trade and don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

The average annual wage for a plumber in May 2017 was $57,070.

If this sounds like good money to you, why not take a deeper look at plumber salaries throughout the country?

Highest Plumber Salaries by Industry

Name an industry and you can be sure they have need for talented plumbers. Let’s have a look at the highest-paying industries for plumbers:

Highest-paying Industries for plumbers

Communications Equipment


Electric Power Generation


Professional/Technical Services


Metal Ore Mining 


Aerospace Manufacturing


You’ll find the highest salaries in communications equipment – thanks to the large amount of funding available in larger telecoms companies, who will pay top dollar for plumbing services needed in their corporate offices, manufacturing plants, and distribution warehouses.

The same standard applies to those in the electric power and various professional services sectors.

In the case of metal ore and aerospace, plumbing and pipefitting are crucial to the continued function of a distribution center where commercial airplanes and space shuttles are manufactured.

Not only is plumbing a vital component of major airlines, but each warehouse here airplanes are manufactured must be maintained like any other office environment.  

Highest Plumber Salaries by State

holding dollars

If you want to know where a plumber salary can be the highest you’ll find, check out the list we’ve provided here:

State Annual Average Salary

State Annual Average Salary



New York








If you have ever needed an excuse to move to Hawaii, here it is: the richest plumbers in the country work in the Aloha State.

The constant level of tourists and vacationers, along with the residents of the island, requires all resort buildings to be strictly maintained. The last thing a luxury resort in Maui wants is a malfunctioning sewer system that would force a string of cancellations, and even worse, shutting down a hotel for an entire day.

Taking second place is New York, which shouldn’t come as much of a shock. Think about how many people pass through Times Square, Grand Central Station, and the Port Authority bus station daily.

All of these people will end up in other buildings, and the massive population of New York City, along with the rest of the state, ensures that the cost of living and rent for office buildings will trickle down to a plumbing salary.

Highest Employment of Plumbers by State

Finding work as a plumber will be the easiest if you search in one of the states included on the list seen here:

State Employment of Plumbers

State Employment of Plumbers



Average salary of $58,220



Average salary of $48,620

New York




Average salary of $43,320



Looking at this list, you might notice a sharp drop-off between Texas and New York, the second and third entries respectively.

Consider the geography of each state – although New York’s population density is enormous, the total amount of land doesn’t even come close to California or Texas.

As a result, fewer buildings can be found through the entirety of New York state. Compare this to Texas, which is home to three major cities: Austin, Houston, and Dallas.

The same concept applies to California. Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco are just some of the cities making up the Golden State.

No matter the population of a given area, there will always be demand for plumbers across California, whether it’s for multimillion-dollar homes in Hollywood, or corporate headquarters in the skyscrapers of Los Angeles.

Florida’s constant tourism and retirement population will keep plumbers working in residential communities and the vast number of amusement parks and resorts scattered throughout the greater Orlando area.

Like California, Florida’s large size lends itself to expansion for more buildings and communities that will require the use of a plumber.

Highest Employment of Plumbers by Industry

Choosing the correct industry will help you secure employment as a plumber when you begin your job search. You’ll have the most luck by checking out the list seen here:

Industry Employment of Plumbers

State Employment of Plumbers

Building Equipment Contractors


Nonresidential Building Construction


Utility System Construction


Local Government


Employment Services


You might say this list is a little stacked in favor of one industry, and you’d be right.

Finding work as a plumber is going to be the easiest when you search for brand new construction operations, or an existing project in a state of remodeling or repair.

There might be other industries that pay top dollar for plumbers.

But if you can secure a contract on multiple buildings that pay just a little bit less than one big job, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate contracts and secure employment with other projects in the future!

Alternate Options for Plumbers

plumbers at work

As you move through your career as a plumber, you might consider expanding your trade and taking on some other responsibilities.

Plumbers bear a lot of the same responsibilities as pipefitters, who also work to maintain infrastructures of pipes in buildings, but these pipes transport other materials.

Pipefitters work with pipes that transport gases, acids, or chemicals, some of which may be hazardous or dangerous to human senses.

Typically, pipefitters will see employment in industrial and commercial settings, as the gases and chemicals transported inside these piping systems are not found in private homes. They can find work in power plants or larger office buildings where massive corporate populations exist.

Pipefitters can work with water systems, installing copper or plastic infrastructures and preventing any leaks for the future.

Along with plumbers, pipefitters utilize digital readouts of blueprints that model physical systems and allow multiple industries to coordinate on building design.

For example, a plumber might cross-reference the layout of sewage pipes with a cable company to ensure that no conflicts arise when Internet access is planned for a new dormitory.

Pipefitters command the same salary as plumbers, so you can expect the same difference in industries and geographical area for a plumber salary as you would a pipefitter.


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About Diane Turner

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