While our program is named “pipefitting,” the skills detailed in this 6.5 month course may also be applied toward careers as pipelayers, boilermakers, plumbers and steamfitters. All of these fields are interrelated but contain their own specialties and areas of expertise. During your training, you may find that you gravitate to a specific portion of the pipefitting training. This may be your guide as to which career you should pursue later on.
Pipefitting is often used as a general term blanketing careers that are involved in the process of connecting pipes as well as assembling, maintaining or repairing pipe systems. Skills necessary for pipefitters (or “fitters”) include blueprint reading, pipe threading and grinding, welding and cutting, soldering and tube bending. Pipefitters must also be capable of working with a number of materials, including steel, aluminum, copper and plastic.
Pipelaying is the process of setting conducting pipes in place to transport water or gas within an underground system. This field often involves working with heavy-duty vehicles, including Caterpillars and pipe-laying ships, which are needed to transport the heavy pipes and lower them into trenches. For this reason, pipelayers must also be familiar with operating and rigging these machines.
Plumbers are responsible for installing and repairing piping systems, plumbing fixtures, and related equipment, such as garbage disposals, dish washers and water heaters. From private homes to governmental offices, plumbing systems are responsible for delivering clean water and removing and transporting wastes. The sizes of the systems plumbers work with can vary quite a bit.
The emphasis of boilermaking is on creating, repairing and maintaining pipes and systems intended specifically for heating hot water in commercial buildings and larger dwelling spaces, such as in apartment complexes. In recent times, the projects that boilermakers have been sought for have become increasingly diverse, including working on blast furnaces, ships and bridges.
Steamfitting is generally thought of as a branch of pipefitting that specializes almost exclusively on the transportation of liquids and gases through high pressure systems. These systems tend to be larger and may offer a greater risk if the proper safety procedures are not followed.
A number of skills are necessary across all branches of pipefitting, including basic construction skills, drawing, and knowledge of welding techniques. No matter which track you intend on pursuing, after graduating from the Tulsa Welding School pipefitting program, you will have the abilities necessary for finding entry-level employment in any of them.