Of course one of the most important reasons for becoming a pipefitter is the pay. A pipefitter is a plumber, but there are differences. While a plumber may work in light commercial or even residential settings, a pipefitter is more suited to the large industrial jobs. While the job can sometimes be dangerous, job opportunities abound and salaries for pipefitters have never been better.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hourly wages for pipefitters come in almost $25.00 per hour, or $52,000 per year. While the lower end pipefitter (apprentice) makes a respectable $28,000 per year, an experienced, licensed pipefitter can make better than $82,000 per year. This is of course before overtime. With overtime, some pipefitters are making in excess of $100,000-$150,000 per year.
Salaries and employment by industry
Since pipefitters work on larger-scale projects that means their jobs come in the manufacturing sector, or heavy construction. Of those industries, steel manufacturing pays the highest at an average of $67,000 per year. Electrical utilities come in a close second at $66,000 with foundries placing a close third.
Of all the industries, building contractors employ the most pipefitters at an average rate of $52,000 per year. Industrial construction comes in second place at an average of $56,000 per year.
Remember, it’s not just who you work for but where that determines your pay scale. Highest wages for pipefitters by location can be found in the remote jobs of Alaska. There, the average pipefitter earns more than $72,000 per year. Massachusetts, New York, Illinois and New Jersey also ranked among the highest-paying states.
Mississippi comes in with the lowest wages at just $37,000 per year. It’s important to note that pay is relative to the cost of living and while such places as New York and New Jersey may pay more, it also costs more there to live. Mississippi, on the other hand, with its low wages also has some of the lowest costs of living in the country.
Prospects are good for pipefitters
Pipefitters, and for that matter plumbers and steamfitters as well, have a healthy employment outlook with job growth expected to increase by as much as 26 percent in the next ten years. This is far better than the national average and with more and more experienced pipefitters retiring, pays is expected to rise accordingly.