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How to Get a Job as a Plumber

Strong math and reading skills are as important as having the technical chops, Kellett says. "This might seem a little bit out of left field, but a positive attitude is also really important for a candidate's success," he adds, "because this can be a kind of tough business and a dangerous business. Blue-collar work isn't always the most popular line of work."

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility poor Below Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility good Above Average

What is the Job Like?

The work environment varies. Plumbers employed by businesses might work daytime hours, whereas those employed on construction sites could face overtime to complete a project. Plumbers who are self-employed – about 11 percent of the 386,900 plumbers working in 2012 – have the liberty to determine their own schedules. Nearly all plumbers work late nights and weekends in an on-call capacity should an emergency arise.

Minor on-the-job injuries do occur – normally slips and falls, according to Kellett – and failing to keep in shape could lead to unnecessary harm. One of the benefits of belong to a union is that it prepares members to work as safely as possible in what can be dangerous situations. "Blue-collar work comes with a reputation or idea of union thugs, or that we're an uneducated workforce, but that's not the truth," Kellett says. He emphasizes the significant rewards of working in plumbing and belonging to the union. "We're extremely proud that we educate our [union] members," he says. "There's no out-of-pocket cost to the individual to get apprenticeship training. And there’s a good health plan as part of the pay package, as well as a good pension upon retiring."

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Last updated by Harriet Edleson.


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