Pathways in Construction: Plumbing

Build Skills New York’s recurring series, Pathways in Construction, highlights a variety of different career specializations within the industry. As workers become more experienced and aware of the vast array of opportunities construction has to offer, they may choose to pursue certifications in areas of specialization, which offer the chance for higher pay and career advancement.

So far in this series, we have discussed carpentry and sprinkler fitting. This week, we will be focusing on the possibilities offered by plumbing.

What does a plumber do?

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain the water, gas, and other piping system in every construction project. Daily tasks for someone in the field may include installing pipes and plumbing fixtures, inspecting and operating equipment – such as pressure and vacuum gauges – and offering recommendations to customers and building contractors.

Plumbers will need a variety of tools particular to their trade, with basic tools including (but not limited to):

  • Tape Measure
  • 12” Torpedo level
  • Flashlight
  • Utility Knife
  • Phillips-Head screwdriver
  • Flat-Head screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • 3-piece Channellock (6.5”, 9.5”, 12”)
  • No-Hub Torque wrench

What are the qualifications to be a plumber?

Plumbers must be active problem solvers, able to execute intricate work with their hands, and an have an understanding or interest in hydraulics. As far as job requirements, all plumbers in New York are required to pursue and receive a Plumbing License. Applications must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED and fluent in English. Typically, workers gain experience as an apprentice under a licensed master plumber to see if the career is the right fit before receiving formalized training. There is no enrollment or permit to be an apprentice plumber, barring standard jobsite qualifications.

What are the job benefits for a plumber?

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a mean of $61,100 per year in 2020 with a mean hourly wage of $29.37 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is an area of specialization that pays well with a skillset in high demand, as plumbers are necessary on every construction project. As with many areas of the construction sector at the moment, expected federal investments could mean additional job opportunities and advancement opportunities.

For more information on a career in plumbing, please visit  to learn about our programs and how we can start you on the path to a good-paying job with room to grow!