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Become A Sprinkler Fitter

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Working As A Sprinkler Fitter

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

  • Repetitive

  • $50,620

    Average Salary

What Does A Sprinkler Fitter 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 Sprinkler Fitter

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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Sprinkler Fitter jobs

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Sprinkler Fitter Demographics

Gender

Male

94.7%

Female

4.4%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

82.3%

Hispanic or Latino

9.6%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

German

16.7%

Japanese

16.7%

Sprinkler Fitter Education

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

23.4%

Washtenaw Community College

12.5%

University of Pennsylvania

4.7%

Kaplan University

4.7%

Ferris State University

4.7%

Anne Arundel Community College

4.7%

South Seattle Community College

4.7%

Baton Rouge Community College

3.1%

Suffolk County Community College

3.1%

Elon University

3.1%

Illinois Central College

3.1%

College of DuPage

3.1%

Texas Tech University

3.1%

Bemidji State University

3.1%

Bergen Community College

3.1%

Dutchess Community College

3.1%

University of Central Missouri

3.1%

Lamar University

3.1%

Austin Community College

3.1%

Miracosta College

3.1%
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Majors

Business

14.7%

Fire Science And Protection

14.7%

Precision Metal Working

7.7%

Computer Science

7.1%

General Studies

5.8%

Criminal Justice

5.8%

Kinesiology

4.5%

Liberal Arts

4.5%

Management

3.8%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.8%

Education

3.8%

Industrial Technology

3.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

3.2%

Automotive Technology

3.2%

Accounting

3.2%

Drafting And Design

2.6%

Pharmacy

2.6%

International Business

1.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

1.9%
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Degrees

Other

48.9%

Associate

18.2%

Bachelors

15.6%

Certificate

10.7%

Diploma

2.2%

Masters

1.8%

License

1.8%

Doctorate

0.9%
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Real Sprinkler Fitter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Journeyman Sprinkler Fitter Emerald Fire LLC Gig Harbor, WA Nov 15, 2016 $151,287 -
$167,983
Journeyman Sprinkler Fitter Emerald Fire LLC Gig Harbor, WA Nov 15, 2016 $100,113 -
$151,287
Fire Sprinkler Fitter City Fire Equipment Co. East Hanover, NJ Apr 27, 2016 $56,826
Pipe/Sprinkler Fitter Orbit Plumbing & Heating New York, NY Jun 04, 2010 $46,519
Sprinkler Fitter John Sommavilla Lawn Irrigation, Inc. Valhalla, NY Apr 01, 2016 $33,309
Sprinkler Fitter John Sommavilla Lawn Irrigation, Inc. NY Apr 01, 2015 $32,662

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Top Skills for A Sprinkler Fitter

SafetyRequirementsFireSuppressionSystemsJobSiteNfpaSprinklerPipeFirePumpsOshaNewConstructionHandToolsPVCLayoutPositionsPipeSystemsBoomLiftsWet/DrySystemsHourHoursScissorLiftsInstallPipeConstructionProjectsPipeThreadersServiceCalls

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Top Sprinkler Fitter Skills

  1. Safety Requirements
  2. Fire Suppression Systems
  3. Job Site
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Complied with OSHA and job safety requirements.
  • Position involved installing, testing, inspecting, and certifying of automatic fire suppression systems in all types of structures.
  • Install and test fire prevention systems in large commercial job site.
  • Train Sentry personnel on installation and inspection procedures and policies per NFPA 25.
  • Verified and tested installed sprinkler pipes in accordance with current codes.

Top Sprinkler Fitter Employers