How Much Do Plumbers Make in the U.S.?

July 19, 2021
Time to Read: 
9 minutes

When asked, many people would say that if you want to choose a lucrative career path in the trades, then you should consider being a plumber. It's true: Plumbers make more than many other trade workers do. However, your state and the certifications and skills that you are licensed to provide can make a big impact on your overall marketability and also your earning power.

If you have been pondering becoming a plumber, you might need to look into your own area and the licenses and other qualifications that you will need to get to be able to start working and earning a good living. Sometimes the cost and time to get to where you can earn the kind of income you are looking for can make the transition to plumbing too complicated for you to undertake. Knowing more about your earning potential in various parts of the country can make a big impact on your choice to become a plumber.

If you are ready to learn more about how much plumbers make, you need to keep reading.

How Much Do Plumbers Make on Average Nationally?

According to the Bureau of Labor, plumbers make an average salary of about $60,000 per year. This is the median pay for this profession, so there are many variables that might be included in this calculation as the total average is taken. The skills, certifications, and other factors that you will need to reach this median income will probably vary per state. However, this is a national average, so you should be able to consider this a good solid expectation after some years of experience in this job.

Entry-level plumbers will often make about 20% less than experienced plumbers and pipefitters. There might also be differences in the requirements that are needed to break out of entry-level work and into more skilled and complex jobs that offer higher rates of pay. This might mean on-the-job training and apprenticeships or training that leads to specific licensure as laid out by your state.

Senior plumbers tend to make about 20% more than those at the median salary level. When you move to management or to sales, you might also expect to receive commission and other benefits and perks on top of a higher salary. Management positions are often more complex than hands-on jobs, but they can offer far better pay than the salaries that are offered to those who are in the trenches working every day, so to speak. There are many negatives that are associated with the stresses and pressures of management as well, so this might figure into your choice to go down this road, no matter what the pay scale.

How Secure Will my Job as a Plumber Be?

There are many indications that plumbers will be secure in their employment in almost any state. There is never any shortage of things that need to be repaired in most areas, and construction jobs and new builds can always use the help of a plumber to get installations done. This might mean that you will need to get specific licenses for each kind of work, but you can easily check on this factor by doing a bit of research online. The expectations for plumbers for licensure are usually made quite clear online.

You will usually also be able to seek employment at the place where you work as an apprentice. If you have gone through the apprenticeship program, you should be able to do so with the expectation of being hired on full-time when you are done with your training. This can be a nice way to make sure that you are not without employment right after you finish your training. While you might not end up staying at the location that you apprenticed at, you usually do have the option to at least get your feet wet working as a plumber at the same place where you were trained.

Which States Pay the Most for Plumbers?

California is one of the places where plumbers get paid the most, with an average salary of $106,100. You will be able to make around $90,000 all along the eastern seaboard as well. Do be sure to remember that the cost of living is much higher in these areas overall, which can offset what sounds like a lot of money.

Alaska is one of the other states that pays plumbers really well, but you might also need to have some specialty certifications to work in your field in this state. There are many challenges related to cold weather and other problems due to severe heat in some areas as well. Be sure that you are ready for more remote living and more challenging jobs on a regular basis if you move to Alaska. Lots of places where plumbers are paid the best are also places that are really challenging to live in, so be prepared for this secondary consideration.

Making a Good Living as a Plumber Can be Easy

Overall, avoiding small communities is best if you want to make a good living as a plumber, and being open to learning new skills that lead to new licenses is also important if you want to increase your earning potential. The more skills that you can bring to the table, the better, and you will be more marketable across the entire US if you have more than just basic plumbing skills to offer.

Being an apprentice can also open up a lot of opportunities for you, and you might want to choose this course even if you have been to a trade school and gotten a degree. The more connections that you have in any industry, the easier it is to find the job that you have been looking for. There are few industries that are perfect, but trade skills like plumbing can make it really easy to earn a good living and to do so with some flexibility if you want to make changes to your work environment at any time.


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