Skilled Trade

Pipefitter & Steamfitter

 Average Hourly Wage


What You Need

  • 18 years old
  • Highschool Diploma or GED
  • 144 classroom hours per year
  • 6,400 to 8,000 on-the-job training hours

Job description

Pipefitters work in the heavy manufacturing industry. They lay out, install, and maintain piping systems that provide steam heat, power, water, hydraulic pressure, air pressure, and oil. They bend, cut, weld, and bracket pipe; repair, pack, and adjust valves; test installed equipment for leaks; and check that the system meets government specifications.

Working conditions

Pipefitters work primarily in manufacturing plants and sometimes in shops. Conditions may be noisy, or warm or cold to extremes. Welding fumes and dust are often present. A pipefitter’s protective gear is cumbersome and heavy.

Length of apprenticeship

This apprenticeship lasts three to four years. Apprentices must complete a minimum of 144 hours per year of related training and a total of 6,400 to 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.

Minimum qualifications

Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, they must provide proof of high school graduation or general education development (GED) equivalent. Local apprenticeship committees may require additional qualifications.


Beginning apprentices start at 50 percent of the journey-level wage. Upon successful completion of required class work and on-the-job hours, wages increase usually every six months, until the journey-level rate is achieved.

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