welder fitting a pipe

What Is a Pipefitter?

welder fitting a pipe

Pipefitters are considered to be some of the most skilled welders. 1 They install and repair the pipes that are essential to everyday life. The pipes that plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters (47-2152) work on carry liquids or gases the water, oil and natural gas people rely on. 2 While many people aren’t aware of the work of pipefitters, the work they do is essential.

labyrinth of pipes

What Does a Pipefitter Do?

No building can be constructed without pipes. You can find them in homes, businesses, and factories. So, what does a pipefitter do? Here is a list of a pipefitter’s tasks.

Typical Tasks:

  • Install
  • Repair
  • Inspect
  • Test
  • Troubleshoot
  • Replace

What Skills Do Pipefitters Need?

Pipefitters need a combination of generalized and specialized skills.

Pipefitter Skills:

  • Physical Strength
  • Mechanical Knowledge 3
  • Construction Skills
  • Pipe Fabrication and Bending
  • Welding
  • Pipe Installation and Shoring

Critical thinking, reading, and time management are a few others, though these are general rather than specific pipefitter skills. 4

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How Long Is Pipefitter Training?

It’s not uncommon for pipefitters to learn the skills at a trade school. Most trade school programs take two years or less to complete. 5 Some schools like Tulsa Welding School, offers pipefitter training as part of the Professional Welder program. Skills taught include:

Subjects:

  • Blueprint Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Pipe Systems Installation
  • Plumbing Codes and Standards
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Safety

Why Become a Pipefitter?

There are several reasons to become a pipefitter. The job outlook is good as this field is growing faster than most. 6 The median annual wage is higher than some other skilled trades. Best of all, they keep the public safe.

Additional Sources:

1 – Title: Welding Principles and Applications; Author: Larry Jeffus; Delmar Cengage Learning; Seventh Edition; Textbook page 106
2 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm#tab-2
3 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm#tab-4
4 – https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/47-2152.01
5 – https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/career-planning-for-high-schoolers.htm
6 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm