If you want to pursue a career in trades, there are many career choices out there: from construction to HVAC technology and mechanics.
Two of the most popular trades are the electrician and the plumber profession.
Both professions are in great demand because every building needs good electric and plumbing systems.
There are many similarities between these professions, especially in regards to the number of years of training you need, but there are also many factors that make them different.
In this article, we will focus on the pros and cons of these two professions in order to help you choose the career that best meets your abilities and professional expectations.
Article Table of Contents
Job Description Comparison
Job Tasks for Plumbers
Plumbers perform a variety of different tasks that involve piping systems in homes and commercial buildings.
They are the ones responsible for designing and installing plumbing systems but they are also the ones we call when we find a broken pipe, a leaking faucet, or a clogged toilet at our home or office.
Plumbers need good technical and troubleshooting skills but also knowledge of building and safety codes.
Every building has pipes and every piping system needs a plumber to do maintenance work, therefore this profession will continue to be needed for many years to come.
Job Tasks for Electricians
Electricians are the ones who install wires and electric equipment in homes and commercial buildings.
Depending on their level of expertise and experience, electricians may work in a variety of different settings, such as malls, shops, stadiums, factories, and skyscrapers.
They have to follow very strict codes and regulations to make sure that electrical equipment can be used in a safe and efficient manner.
Some electricians can even do outdoor work- like connecting and maintaining electrical components that connect businesses and residential buildings to power plants.
How Many Years of Training Do You Need?
Before becoming a licensed electrician or plumber you will need to complete an apprenticeship and obtain a passing score at a state exam.
Electrician Career Path
Electrical apprenticeships can last anywhere between two to five years, depending on the state where you want to practice.
This may seem like a very long time but you should bear in mind the fact that you will receive a salary while completing the apprenticeship.
As an apprentice, you will learn “hands-on” at a job site during normal business hours.
Apprentices usually receive a pay raise at specific milestones in their training program and a fifth-year apprentice will earn significantly more than a first-year apprentice.
Before being ready to start the practical part of the apprenticeship you may need to complete some formal training classes at a community college or a trade school.
Plumber Career Path
The career path for plumbers is quite similar.
Plumbing apprenticeships typically take about the same amount of time as electrical apprenticeships: two to five years (depending on the area).
Plumbing apprentices are also paid during training and receive pay raises at specific times during the program.
Licensure requirements vary by state and before you begin training is best to check the regulations that apply in your state.
The training periods for both professions may seem quite long but you will have the opportunity to learn hands-on and be remunerated for the work done during the training period.
Wages for both professions vary depending on a number of factors (including the state, the worker’s level of experience and expertise, and the industry of employment-among other factors) but both professions can be financially rewarding, especially after gaining a few years of experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for electricians was $56,180 as of May 2019.
This number shows us that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more but salaries vary between less than $34,000 and more than $96,000 depending on experience level, education, expertise, region, and a variety of other factors.
BLS reports that the median reported salary for this profession was $55,160 in 2019 with wages ranging between less than $33,000 and more than $97,000.
In conclusion, although these two professions require a different set of skills, the career paths and the earning prospects are very similar.
So when deciding which profession is best for you, it all comes down to what type of job would you prefer to practice, the region where you reside, and the learning and work opportunities that are available to you.