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Become A Pipe Fitter Helper

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Working As A Pipe Fitter Helper

  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Getting Information
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $63,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Pipe Fitter Helper Do

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from, and within businesses, homes, and factories.

Duties

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters typically do the following:

  • Install pipes and fixtures
  • Study blueprints and follow state and local building codes
  • Determine the amount of material and type of equipment needed
  • Inspect and test installed pipe systems and pipelines
  • Troubleshoot systems that are not working
  • Replace worn parts

The movement of liquids and gases through pipes is critical to modern life. In homes, water is needed for both drinking and sanitation. In factories, chemicals are moved to aid in product manufacturing. In power plants, steam is moved to drive turbines that generate electricity. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair these pipe systems.

Although plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters perform three distinct and specialized roles, their duties are often similar. For example, they all install pipes and fittings that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. They connect pipes, determine the necessary materials for a job, and perform pressure tests to ensure that a pipe system is airtight and watertight.

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install, maintain, and repair many different types of pipe systems. Some of these systems carry water, dispose of waste, supply gas to ovens, or heat and cool buildings. Other systems, such as those in power plants, carry the steam that powers huge turbines. Pipes also are used in manufacturing plants to move acids, gases, and waste byproducts through the production process.

Master plumbers on construction jobs may be involved with developing blueprints that show the placement of all the pipes and fixtures. Their input helps ensure that a structure’s plumbing meets building codes, stays within budget, and works well with the location of other features, such as electric wires. Many diagrams are now created digitally using Building Information Modeling (BIM), which allows a building’s physical systems to be planned and coordinated across occupations.

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters may use many different materials and construction techniques, depending on the type of project. Residential water systems, for example, use copper, steel, and plastic pipe that one or two plumbers can install. Power plant water systems, by contrast, are made of large steel pipes that usually take a crew of pipefitters to install. Some workers install stainless steel pipes on dairy farms and in factories, mainly to prevent contamination.

Plumbers and pipefitters sometimes cut holes in walls, ceilings, and floors. With some pipe systems, workers may hang steel supports from ceiling joists to hold the pipe in place. Because pipes are seldom manufactured to exact lengths, plumbers and pipefitters measure and then cut and bend lengths of pipe as needed. Their tools often include saws and pipe cutters.

They then connect the pipes, using methods that vary by type of pipe. For example, copper pipe is joined with solder, whereas steel pipe often is screwed together.

In addition to performing installation and repair work, journey- and master-level plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters frequently direct apprentices and helpers.

The following are examples of types of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters:

Plumbers install and repair water, drainage, and gas pipes in homes, businesses, and factories. They install and repair large water lines, such as those which supply water to buildings, and smaller ones, including lines that supply water to refrigerators. Plumbers also install plumbing fixtures—bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toilets—and appliances such as dishwashers, garbage disposals, and water heaters. In addition, they fix plumbing problems. For example, when a pipe is clogged or leaking, plumbers remove the clog or replace the pipe. Some plumbers maintain septic systems—the large, underground holding tanks that collect waste from houses not connected to a city or county’s sewer system.

Pipefitters, sometimes referred to as just fitters, install and maintain pipes that carry chemicals, acids, and gases. These pipes are used mostly in manufacturing, commercial, and industrial settings. Fitters often install and repair pipe systems in power plants, as well as heating and cooling systems in large office buildings. Some pipefitters specialize:

  • Gasfitters install pipes that provide natural gas to heating and cooling systems and to stoves. They also install pipes that provide clean oxygen to patients in hospitals.
  • Sprinklerfitters install and repair fire sprinkler systems in businesses, factories, and residential buildings.
  • Steamfitters install pipe systems that move steam under high pressure. Most steamfitters work at college campuses and natural-gas power plants where heat and electricity are generated, but others work in factories that use high-temperature steampipes.

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How To Become A Pipe Fitter Helper

Although most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn on the job through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states and localities require plumbers to be licensed.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is required.

Technical schools offer courses on pipe system design, safety, and tool use. They also offer welding courses that are considered necessary by some pipefitter and steamfitter apprenticeship training programs.

Training

Most plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their trade through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship. Each year, apprentices must have at least 1,700 to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and a minimum of 246 hours of related technical education.

In the classroom, apprentices learn safety, local plumbing codes and regulations, and blueprint reading. They also study mathematics, applied physics, and chemistry.

Apprenticeship programs are offered by unions and businesses. Although most workers enter apprenticeships directly, some start out as helpers. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. To enter an apprenticeship program, a trainee must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass a basic math test
  • Pass substance abuse screening
  • Know how to use computers

Some plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn on the job through specific task-oriented training. Employers provide training that enables workers to complete a variety of tasks. The Home Builders Institute offers a pre-apprenticeship training program for eight construction trades, including plumbing.

After completing an apprenticeship program, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are considered to be journey workers, qualifying them to perform duties on their own.

With additional technical education and several years of plumbing experience, plumbers are eligible to earn master status. Some states require a business to employ a master plumber in order to obtain a plumbing contractor’s license.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states and localities require plumbers to be licensed. Although licensing requirements vary, most states and localities require workers to have 2 to 5 years of experience and to pass an exam that shows their knowledge of the trade and of local plumbing codes before they are permitted to work independently.

A few states require pipefitters to be licensed. Several states require a special license to work on gas lines. Obtaining a license requires taking a test, gaining experience through work, or both. For more information, check with your state’s licensing board.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Plumbers who own their own business must be able to direct workers, bid on jobs, and plan work schedules.

Customer-service skills. Plumbers work with customers on a regular basis, so they should be polite and courteous.

Mechanical skills. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters use a variety of tools to assemble and repair pipe systems. Choosing the right tool and successfully installing, repairing, or maintaining a system is crucial to their work.

Physical strength. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters must be strong enough to lift and move heavy pipe.

Troubleshooting skills. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters find, diagnose, and repair problems. For example, pipefitters must be able to perform pressure tests to pinpoint the location of a leak.

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Do you work as a Pipe Fitter Helper?

Average Yearly Salary
$63,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$28,000
Min 10%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$141,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
N & H Plumbing Services
Highest Paying City
Westlake, OH
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
1.4 years
How much does a Pipe Fitter Helper make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Pipe Fitter Helper in the United States is $63,547 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $28,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $141,000.

Real Pipe Fitter Helper Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Pipe-Fitter Helpers PNL Construction LP LA Jun 03, 2014 $31,618
Sewer Pipe Helper Adelio's Electric Sewer Cleaning Co. OH May 15, 2013 $23,562
Helpers-Pipe Fitter Bourcher Plumbing and Heating LLC Stamford, CT May 12, 2008 $22,957
Pipe Fitter Helper Pulspray-Keith Inc. DBA Keith Inc. TX Jun 15, 2011 $21,538
Pipe Fitter Helper Interest, Inc. DBA Progressive Electrical Contract TX Feb 01, 2011 $21,538
Pipe Fitter Helper Progressive Interest Inc. DBA Progressive Electrica TX Feb 01, 2012 $18,658
Pipe Fitter Helper Texas Express Plumbing, Inc. TX Feb 20, 2012 $18,658

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Top Skills for A Pipe Fitter Helper

  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Pipe Systems
  3. Pipe Supports
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed fire watch duties for welders, utilizing knowledge of correct safety procedures and equipment.
  • Repair and maintain pipe systems and components Accomplishments Learned how to perform hydro testing using heavy psi and water.
  • Prepared/installed hydro pipes and pipe supports (guides, hangers, u bolts, spring supports) for installation.
  • Fabricated and fitted; carbon, stainless steel, fiber glass pipes ranging from 2 inches to 6 feet in size.
  • Installed and maintained hydraulic and pneumatic components of machines and equipment, such as pumps and cylinders, using hand tools.

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Top 10 Best States for Pipe Fitter Helpers

  1. Alaska
  2. Minnesota
  3. Oregon
  4. Illinois
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Michigan
  7. Hawaii
  8. Delaware
  9. District of Columbia
  10. North Dakota
  • (14 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)

Pipe Fitter Helper Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,153 Pipe Fitter Helper resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Pipe Fitter Helper Resume

View Resume Examples

Pipe Fitter Helper Demographics

Gender

Male

79.7%

Female

11.6%

Unknown

8.7%
Ethnicity

White

54.4%

Hispanic or Latino

22.0%

Black or African American

16.1%

Asian

5.0%

Unknown

2.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

78.8%

Carrier

9.1%

Turkish

3.0%

German

3.0%

Vietnamese

3.0%

French

3.0%
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Pipe Fitter Helper Education

Schools

Lee College

15.4%

Lamar Institute of Technology

7.1%

Lamar University

6.7%

ITI Technical College

6.4%

Tulsa Welding School

5.6%

Houston Community College

5.6%

San Jacinto College District

5.6%

Del Mar College

5.2%

College of the Mainland

4.5%

University of Houston

4.1%

Universal Technical Institute

3.7%

Baton Rouge Community College

3.7%

Brazosport College

3.7%

Delgado Community College

3.4%

The Academy

3.4%

A-Technical College

3.4%

University of Phoenix

3.4%

Lamar State College - Port Arthur

3.0%

ITT Technical Institute-Webster

3.0%

McNeese State University

3.0%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

18.3%

Business

12.9%

General Studies

11.6%

Drafting And Design

6.9%

Criminal Justice

5.4%

Automotive Technology

5.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.1%

Industrial Technology

4.1%

Electrical Engineering

4.1%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.3%

Kinesiology

3.1%

Education

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.6%

Nursing

2.3%

Management

2.3%

Communication

2.3%

Computer Science

2.1%

Civil Engineering

2.1%

Psychology

2.0%

Information Technology

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

52.8%

Associate

17.5%

Bachelors

13.5%

Certificate

10.3%

Diploma

3.8%

Masters

1.0%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.3%
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