In some form or another, it’s in nearly every building that exists in almost every modern country in the world. For something that can be so clean and so good to drink, water can take on other characteristics when it comes time to remove it. It’s not for that reason alone that working as a plumber can be considered a “dirty job”.

Plumbing is a highly skilled trade where the plumber has the know-how and technical education and experience to get into the thick of a problem – from a stopped up pipe in a sink to safe and responsible disposal of commercial wastewater. It’s also an occupation that is experiencing a good deal of growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At 26% (“faster than average”) projected through 2020, this career field can expect to add nearly 108,000 jobs.

This is an apprenticeship-heavy occupation during the years of training required to become a master plumber. During this time period, pay varies according to the years of experience. An apprentice can expect to receive less pay, but gain the necessary experience. The top ten percent of master plumbers can expect to earn close to $80,000 per year.

On average, plumbers earn $46,660 per year. Income varies throughout this profession, as with other trade careers, depending on whether the work is done in an urban or rural setting, for a majority of residential versus commercial clients, and the complexity of projects undertaken (such as large industrial settings).

As the need to conserve water grows increasingly more apparent and changes are undertaken to facilitate the smarter use of consumables such as this resource, plumbers will find themselves working with new regulations and guidelines. They will also be involved in replacing older models of appliances with newer ones that meet these new standards. Continuing education may be an important factor in success in this field.

Those entering into the plumbing profession through 2020 (as far as current projections go) can expect some of the anticipated work demand to come from more strict water efficiency standards as relates to installation of low-flow showerheads and toilets, as well as new construction. New single family and double-family residences will be affected by the International Residential Code change that requires fire sprinkler systems, changes that will involve plumbing professionals.

Plumbers will also have some variation in their hourly and yearly wages depending on whether they are in a union, own their own business, work independently, or work for a construction company or a general contractor. An independent plumber may charge more as equipment, insurance, gas, taxes and business rental – just to name a few – are the responsibility of that individual. A large company that employs many different people in different trades, such as electricians, HVAC techs, plumbers, etc., may pay that worker less, but cover the expenses related to running a business.

While fluctuations in the economy are definitely a factor in nearly all trade profession, in general the field of plumbing is characterized by growth in the coming years. It’s an in demand vocation where those who choose it have a good chance at a secure future.

Start here to learn more about entering this field and becoming a plumber!