When you think of a plumber, you may think they are unclogging drains and draining basement flooding after a large storm.
While these are components of the job, plumbing is also a critical aspect of maintaining the global infrastructure and an integral part of the economy.
Plumbers service the needs of government agencies, industries, businesses, and residences by assembling, installing, and repairing heating, drainage, piping, water systems, and fixtures according to plumbing codes and specifications.
If you like working with your hands in unique environments while problem-solving, reading the following before immediately jumping into this career is essential. Keep reading to learn more!
Pros of Being a Plumber
The plumbing profession offers countless vital benefits that are integral to your decision-making, including the following:
Constantly Changing Situations and Environments
The plumbing field offers diverse careers with different work settings and specialties available to licensed industry professionals.
A plumbing career is far from having the nuances of a desk job, and each new job requires critical problem-solving skills to get to the root cause so a solution can be determined and implemented.
This means every workday differs from the previous one since new and varying situations have regular hours.
Like a puzzle, plumbers must assess the issue, identify the source, and determine the best way to solve it.
Also, plumbers spend the most time in the field, visiting commercial, industrial, and residential clients for different reasons.
Earn a Solid Salary
The U.S. New and World Report cites that plumbing is the 4th best construction job and 6th highest paying job that doesn’t require a degree.
The median annual salary for plumbing professionals in 2020 was $56,300, and with demand on the continued rise, that salary will also increase.
The top 25% of plumbers earn over $75,000 per year, so it can be an incredibly lucrative field, especially if you plan to open a plumbing company.
Easy Barrer of Entry
Most modern careers require a college education to begin.
However, a plumbing career allows you to jump right into the position as an apprentice and gather the necessary work experience to become licensed.
Even those who opt for a training program aren’t going to spend years inside classrooms.
Most plumbing companies accept newly graduated high school students and mold them into successful plumbers.
Another significant benefit is the job is gratifying because you are helping others, often in a dire time of need.
Plumbers meet individuals from all walks of life, from single families to commercial employees and other professionals in a construction zone.
This means you will never feel lonely as a plumber and will always be surrounded by people.
Plumbers also make a tremendous difference in their community by ensuring wastewater and water supplies function to their intended purpose.
When working independently, plumbers are heroes, swooping in at the 11th hour to fix clogged toilets, the water heater in the middle of winter, or de-flooding a basement.
Regardless of the task, as a plumber, you can go home at night knowing you have made a difference in the lives of others.
With a good job market, new constructions are increasing in cities and towns across the U.S. This equates to a strong need for plumbers, resulting in a good starting salary and tremendous future opportunities.
In 2020, 479,000 pipefitters and plumbers were employed in the United States.
Experts predict a 5% anticipated job growth by 2030, which equates to an additional 23,000 plumbers needed to fill that gap.
Little to No Student Loan Debt
As many paths to becoming a plumber exist, most candidates opt for an apprenticeship to earn a salary while learning the trade.
A smaller number decide to attend a vocational or trade school to learn the position, which takes less time than an apprenticeship but is unpaid.
Regardless of your chosen path, both have little to no student loan debt, and you learn the skills necessary for the exact career you are pursuing.
Also, a minimal time commitment is necessary even when taking a plumber training program.
Who needs to hit the weights when your job requires moving heavy piping and equipment up and down stairs several times daily?
Also, plumbers must be flexible enough to crouch, bend, and control their bodies in tight spaces.
As a result, being a plumber requires a high level of upper body strength, which is gained on the job, not at the gym!
Licensed plumbers have several career options, each with pros and cons, including:
- Join a union.
- Work for a plumbing company as an employee.
- Open a plumbing business.
Plumbers with an entrepreneurial spirit must realize that operating a plumbing business provides endless earning opportunities.
Many new plumbers follow the apprenticeship route, work for an established company for a few years to gain experience, then open their business to have the freedom and flexibility they seek in a career.
If this is your plan, taking business and marketing classes at a local community college can help your company succeed even more.
Cons of Being a Plumber
To gain a proper understanding of all aspects of a plumbing career, the benefits must be weighed against the drawbacks of the position, including the following:
Deal with Unpleasant Situations
One of the most obvious drawbacks of becoming a plumber is constantly dealing with unpleasant waste when unclogging toilets or drains.
The plumbing work environment could be more pleasant, but it is an aspect that you adjust to.
If you have an OCD about being clean at work, then plumbing likely isn’t the right career path since you will get dirty.
Given the unpredictability of the work, plumbers are placed in high-pressure situations, especially when there’s an emergency and every second counts.
Clients become demanding, challenging, and impatient when issues arise and are dangerous or inconvenient.
Therefore, it’s critical for you always to remain calm when confronted with a serious problem, especially when safety is related.
This leads to the next point of being subjected to regular injury risks.
Due to the nature of the work, various hazards surround plumbers, so the injury rate is high.
Common hazards include flame sparks from gas piping, falling objects, and exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The most common injuries include slips and falls, explosive situations, hearing loss, and eye trauma.
While plumbers always wear protective gear, including earplugs, gloves, goggles, and a mask, injury is still prevalent.
Trade schools offer countless plumbing programs to help budding plumbers gain the knowledge necessary to enter the industry.
However, most plumbing candidates opt for an apprenticeship, which allows them to learn firsthand from a licensed plumber while getting paid.
Apprenticeships are excellent options for new candidates, but it can take three to four years to complete the program and prepare for the written licensing exam.
On the other hand, plumbing programs take less time and prepare you for the same exam, but you don’t get paid during training.
Liability for Mistakes
If a plumbing job you worked on goes awry, the damages from any error can be your responsibility.
As a result, plumber insurance is a critical aspect of becoming a plumber, especially if you own a business.
The insurance aims to protect you and the business if an error occurs. Insurance is a common attribute.
Like other construction trades, plumbing requires a considerable amount of physical exercise.
For instance, plumbers must carry heavy bathtubs, toilets, and other special equipment, often up staircases in older buildings without elevators or newly constructed buildings.
Also, plumbers often must crouch in and crawl through cramped, tiny spaces to access pipes and other fixtures.
Additionally, plumbers must work in all weather conditions, which could include extreme heat and cold.
Therefore, if you’re claustrophobic, can’t meet physical demands, or have a weather sensitivity, plumbing may not be the ideal career choice.
For some, an unpredictable routine is precisely what they look for in a new career, equating to changing environments and activities.
For others, an inconsistent routine eliminates stability, which can be a major turnoff for some.
Plumbing emergencies occur regularly at all hours and in all weather types, so you must be ready for the worst-case scenarios.
Being available around the clock is a natural occurrence for those in the field, regardless of whether you work for a plumbing company or are self-employed.
15 Pros and Cons of Being a Plumber – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Plumber||Cons of Being a Plumber|
|Constantly Changing Situations and Environments||Deal with Unpleasant Situations|
|Earn a Solid Salary||High-Pressure Situations|
|Easy Barrer of Entry||Injury Risk|
|Helping Others||Lengthy Apprenticeship|
|Job Security||Liability for Mistakes|
|Little to No Student Loan Debt||Physically Demanding|
|Regular Exercise||Unpredictable Routine|
Should You Become a Plumber?
There are many benefits to becoming a plumber, but also some unpleasant drawbacks.
Successful plumbers earn a good income, but the work can be physically demanding, with unpredictable hours.
The plumbing industry continues to show strong demand as emergencies occur, new constructions are being built across the country, and new fixtures must be installed in old buildings.
If you’re considering a plumbing career, exploring different training options is best to meet your career objectives.
A plumbing introductory class will help you determine if this is your right career path, so start looking for the best educational opportunities in your area!