Plumbing work is an integral component of the economy.
Plumbers serve the needs of businesses, residences, and government agencies.
They are the professional tradesmen who are responsible for the assembly, installation, and repair (according to specifications or plumbing codes) of fixtures, pipes, & fittings water, drainage, and heating systems.
Who would unclog pipes and drains or fix a slow leak without a plumber?
If you have not made a final decision about a career as a plumber, check out the pros and cons of this profession, as this might be helpful in reaching a final decision.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 The Pros of Being a Plumber
- 1.1 Job Security Due to a High Demand for Plumbers
- 1.2 Solid Wages With Little to No Student Loan Debt
- 1.3 Exercise is Part of the Job
- 1.4 Opportunities for Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship
- 1.5 Never a Dull Moment Because No Two Days are the Same
- 1.6 It is Gratifying to Help People the People You Meet
- 1.7 Plumbers Earn Solid Salaries
- 2 The Cons of Being a Plumber
- 2.1 Plumbing Work Can Be Physically Demanding
- 2.2 A Plumber’s Daily Routine Can Be Unpredictable
- 2.3 Plumbers Work Under Pressure
- 2.4 There’s an Occupational Risk Of Getting Injured
- 2.5 If You Are Choosing An Apprenticeship Path, It Can Take Several Years
- 2.6 Plumbers Have To Deal With Waste
- 2.7 Plumbers May Be Liable for Mistakes
- 3 Should You Become a Plumber?
- 4 Pros and Cons of Being a Plumber – Summary Table
The Pros of Being a Plumber
The plumbing profession offers a variety of important benefits, and these are shown below.
Job Security Due to a High Demand for Plumbers
Plumbers are in high demand.
There tends always to be a strong need for professionals.
This strong demand translates to a great job market, an excellent starting salary, and tremendous opportunities.
There were nearly 479,000 plumbers and pipefitters working in the United States in 2020.
Over the next ten years, the job growth is anticipated to be at 5%, creating more than 23,000 new plumbing positions by 2030.
Many plumbing professionals can join a union, which means they are offered excellent benefits, which may include a retirement plan (i.e., 401(k)), life and health insurance, to name a few.
The Bottom-Line – Plumbing work is not likely to be outdated by technological advancements, which means the demand for plumbers is expected to continue at a similar pace moving forward.
Solid Wages With Little to No Student Loan Debt
There are several paths to becoming a plumber.
Most plumbers choose to learn the plumbing trade by attending a trade or a vocational school or by becoming an apprentice to a licensed plumber.
An apprenticeship provides on-the-job training but generally takes more time to complete than a trade school’s training program.
But learning the plumbing trade as an apprentice offers you the opportunity to get paid while learning – which is the opposite of college tuition.
The Bottom-Line – Plumbers begin their career with little or no student loan debt because no lengthy education process is required.
Exercise is Part of the Job
Forget the gym membership.
Who needs to hit the weights or stair-climber when your job requires you to move and load heavy pipes and equipment -often, several times per day?
In addition, plumbers are required to contort their bodies and crouch and bend to fit into tight spaces.
A plumbing career requires a certain level of upper body strength to run the equipment safely.
The Bottom-Line – The reality is that a hard-working plumber can stay in great physical shape without buying a gym membership.
Opportunities for Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship
A licensed plumber has several work options.
They can join a union, work for a plumbing company as an employee, or they can open their own plumbing business that they can manage independently.
The Bottom-Line – A plumber with an entrepreneurial spirit should realize that the plumbing trade, through self-employment, offers unlimited earnings potential.
Never a Dull Moment Because No Two Days are the Same
A plumbing career offers a diverse career, with many different specialties and work settings available to licensed professionals.
A career as a plumber is anything but a desk job, although each job requires solving a puzzle of sorts.
Each day of a plumber’s work life is different from the previous day.
A plumber’s job is to assess the plumbing-related issue, identify the problem’s source, and then determine the best way to solve it.
The Bottom-Line – Plumbers spend most of the time in the field, visiting residential and commercial clients for a variety of reasons.
It is Gratifying to Help People the People You Meet
Plumbers get to meet all types of people from all walks of life.
Whether your work takes you to a one-family residence or commercial construction zone, it’s guaranteed you’ll never feel lonely while as a plumber.
Plumbers also contribute and make a difference in their community by helping to ensure the water and wastewater supplies function safely.
If a plumber works for a town or city government, they are responsible for maintaining water and sewer pipes.
If working independently, a plumber is often a hero, swooping in to fix the hot water heater or clogged toilet in a home or business.
The Bottom-Line – Whether your plumbing work takes you to a small shower leak in a one-family home or a large malfunctioning boiler in a commercial building, it is guaranteed your work will make a difference in their daily life.
Plumbers Earn Solid Salaries
According to US News & World Report, the plumbing field is the 4th best job in construction and the 6th highest paying job that does not require an academic degree.
In addition, in 2020, the median salary for plumbing professionals was $56,330 per year.
Note: however, that the top 25% of plumbers earn upwards of $75,370 per year.
The Cons of Being a Plumber
To get a proper understanding of all facets of a plumbing career, the perks must be weighed against the less-than-ideal aspects of the work.
Plumbing Work Can Be Physically Demanding
Like most construction trades, plumbing generally requires above-average amounts of physical exercise.
For example, plumbers may need to carry a heavy bathtub or other specialty equipment, sometimes up a staircase when working in older buildings or new construction.
Plumbing work can require professionals to spend a fair amount of time crawling and crouching in tiny, cramped spaces.
So, if you have claustrophobia, a plumbing career may not be a great fit.
The Bottom-Line – Plumbers work in all weather conditions, which may include extreme heat or cold.
A Plumber’s Daily Routine Can Be Unpredictable
As noted above, the job market for plumbers is strong and, therefore, predictable.
This is in stark contrast to many workdays for plumbers, which can be anything but predictable.
Plumbing emergencies happen at all hours and in all kinds of weather.
The Bottom-Line – Whether you are self-employed or work for a plumbing company, the hours tend to be irregular, especially for those who respond to emergencies for 24-hour service providers.
Plumbers Work Under Pressure
The unpredictability of the work can also generate pressure-cooker-type situations in which to work. Clients become impatient, difficult, and demanding if a plumbing issue is dangerous (or even simply inconvenient).
The Bottom-Line – Plumbers must remain calm when confronting a serious plumbing issue that may be dangerous to the plumber or other people in the house or building.
There’s an Occupational Risk Of Getting Injured
Plumbing work can be risky because of the nature of the work.
There are a variety of hazards, especially when working in construction.
The rate of injury for this profession is high.
These hazards may include chemicals, falling objects, or sparks from a flame used to plumb piping.
Plumbers may suffer from eye injuries, hearing loss, flammable situations, or slips and falls, among other injuries.
The Bottom-Line – Plumbers must wear protective and safety gear, which may include a mask, goggles, gloves, and earplugs, among others.
If You Are Choosing An Apprenticeship Path, It Can Take Several Years
While trade schools offer programs for plumbing, many professionals choose to work as an apprentice under a licensed plumber as a way to learn the plumbing trade – while getting paid!
An apprenticeship is a great career path for a plumber, but it may take upwards of 3 or 4 years to complete the apprenticeship program and be ready for the licensing exam.
The Bottom-Line – To become licensed as a plumber, you must pass a written examination, but fret not, there are online plumbing programs available.
Plumbers Have To Deal With Waste
Plumbing is not the most glamorous occupation because it often includes dealing with clogged drains or toilets, which likely means dealing with waste.
The Bottom-Line – Plumbing work is sometimes done in very unpleasant settings. If you lean on the side of OCD, plumbing might not be the right career.
Plumbers May Be Liable for Mistakes
If a plumbing job goes awry, the damages caused by the plumbing error may be the plumber’s responsibility.
As such, it is vital for plumbers to purchase insurance as a protection for the business and professional.
The Bottom-Line – The cost of the insurance must be included in your operating costs and expenses if self-employed.
Should You Become a Plumber?
Successful plumbers can earn a good income.
But the work can be difficult and often include random evening and weekend hours.
There is typically a strong demand for plumbers, which shows no signs of slowing.
If you are seriously considering a plumbing career, begin by exploring which of the training options will meet your education and career objectives.
This will help you decide if a career as a plumber is a good fit.
Pros and Cons of Being a Plumber – Summary Table
|The Pros of Being a Plumber||The Cons of Being a Plumber|
|Job Security Due to a High Demand for Plumbers||Plumbing Work Can Be Physically Demanding|
|Solid Wages With Little to No Student Loan Debt||A Plumber’s Daily Routine Can Be Unpredictable|
|Exercise is Part of the Job||Plumbers Work Under Pressure|
|Opportunities for Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship||There’s an Occupational Risk Of Getting Injured|
|Never a Dull Moment Because No Two Days are the Same||If You Are Choosing An Apprenticeship Path, It Can Take Several Years|
|It is Gratifying to Help People the People You Meet||Plumbers Have To Deal With Waste|
|Plumbers Earn Solid Salaries||Plumbers May Be Liable for Mistakes|
Read the full guide: How to Become a Plumber