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Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters

Hit the Pipelines for a Dependable Career

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are among the largest and highest paid construction occupations. Most people are familiar with plumbers. However, taking a closer look we find that plumbers, pipefit-ters, and steamfitters install, maintain, and repair many different types of pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. Work could be in a residential home, in commercial build-ings, at manufacturing plants, water treatment plants, power plants, industrial manufacturing compa-nies, and the list goes on! Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are in short supply in the Gulf Coast region as well as at the state and national level. Demand continues to grow in response to an ever-increasingpopulation and as a growing number of baby boomers retire. The shortage of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters translates into outstanding career opportunities to individuals entering into the workforce. Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters are among the largest and highest paid construction occupations. It is an occupation that goes back to the times of ancient Greece, originating when the first town wanted to get water more quickly from the aqueduct to their city.

Today, their job is a little more complex, but you may not realize it with most pipe systems being hidden underground and into corners most people don't venture into. Most people are familiar with plumbers, but pipefitters and steamfitters also install, maintain and repair many different types of pipe systems that carry water, steam, air or other liquids or gases respectively. In the Gulf Coast Region, a large portion of these occupations work in the oil and gas industry as well.

Work could be done in a residential home, commercial building, at a manufacturing plant, water treatment plant, power plant, etc. Demand for these professionals continues to grow in response to an ever-increasing population and a growing number of retiring baby boomers. 


Estimates show an annual job opening of 1,883.

Growth 258 Retirements 428 Transfers 1,197

By 2028, The Gulf Coast Region expects to need over 15,000 Plumbers, Pipe-fitters, and Steamfitters.

 19% Growth

 Entry $37,701 Median $55,773 Experienced $63,085

So what kinds of Plumber, Pipefitter and Steamfitter careers are there?

  • Residential construction, maintenance, and repair
  • Commercial construction, maintenance, and repair
  • Industrial construction, maintenance, and repair

Pathway to Becoming a Plumber

High School Endorsement: Business & Industry

To get into an apprenticeship is the first step, requiring a high school diploma or the equivalent along with a good grasp on math and computers. With an apprenticeship right out of high school, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters, get to work right away, gaining at least 1,700 to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and the equivalent of a minimum 246 hours of technical education. Community colleges and vocational schools also offer plumbing courses to prepare for a career, but it is not required. 

After the apprenticeship, a plumber should have a journeyman license to prove they have the basic qualifications to be working and knowledge of plumbing as well as government code. This requires:

  • At least 4 years' experience installing piping
  • Completion of a recognized 4-year apprenticeship program

Then after the apprenticeship, they can obtain a master plumber license from the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners that requires having possessed a journeyman license for at least 2 years.

Other certifications are available for specialty plumbing systems which are required in the state of Texas to work on special piping (e.g. gas lines). 

Community Colleges - 

Offering Training Depending on Demand

Apprenticeship Training

Major Employers in the Gulf Coast Region


If you have questions about our Industry/Occupation Profiles or are an organization in the Gulf Coast Region, please contact

*Includes the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

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