Updated October 2016
As you start your journey for information about becoming a plumber, you’ll quickly learn that there are different types of roles in the plumbing trades. It is important that you learn about each type of position in order to find the role that best suits you. Even within the same type of plumbing position, your specific job responsibilities could vary from one employer to another. It is not only very important that you learn about the different types of plumbing industry jobs, you must also read each job description in detail to make sure you are a good fit for the specific company you are considering applying at.
One of the most obvious types of plumber jobs is that of the residential plumber that comes out to fix your clogged pipes or the “rooter” type. The commercial type is less obvious but there are as many jobs in commercial plumbing as there are in residential, if not more.
A lot of residential plumbers may perform all types of plumbing functions such as unclogging pipes, connect your dishwasher piping, and install a new plumbing system from scratch on their own. Commercial plumbers are often more specialized and their jobs can be classified into the following major categories or trades:
The work of pipe layers consists of laying out the pipes that carry drinking water, drainage, sewer, oil, and or gas systems. Their work includes digging trenches and preparing the grading within the trench to support the piping. Welding, soldering and cementing are the more common methods used by pipelayers to connect pipe segments into a system.
Pipefitters typically install and maintain pressure systems commercial operations that include power plants, factories, air conditioning and heating. Their job also includes installing the monitoring and control systems used to keep the systems running properly.
Among pipefitters are also steamfitters, who specialize in the installation of pipes that carry high pressure gases and liquids.
Another specialty within the pipefitter area is the specialty of sprinklerfitters. Sprinklerfitters install automated sprinkler systems as part of a building’s fire suppression system.
Regardless of the type of work, pipelayers, all need to read blueprints and take direction from contractors who plan out the work. Proficiency with computers is also required.
Being in the plumber trade can be a very rewarding career but to enjoy your work, you should look for a role within the trade that works for you.
If you think one of these plumbing roles is for you, you may want to read about plumber apprenticeships as a way to get your foot in the door into the plumbing industry.