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How Much Does a Plumber Make?

The life of a plumber is a busy one but can be very lucrative. Learn how to get started down the career path and get a feel for what it takes to be successful in the field.

A lot of people consider becoming a plumber because it doesn’t require a college degree or as much schooling compared to other professions. The first question people will usually ask is, how much do plumbers make? Well, the answer is that it depends.

The median plumber’s salary in Ohio is about $49,029 which is just slightly above the national average. This means that the average hourly pay for plumbers is around $24. This changes drastically when you take into account the other factors such as what level of plumbers license one might have (apprentice, journeyman, master), the state being worked in, and types of jobs that are performed.

With this in mind, salaries can range from $22,827 to about $78,069 in the United States, although it doesn’t always stay inside this range, as some plumbers can potentially make much more. So if being a plumber is of any interest to you, it can be a pretty lucrative career choice.

When working as a plumber it’s important to do quality work and be determined in the work that you are doing. This is especially important to keep in mind because only about two percent of plumbers make over $73,000. If you want to stand out as a great plumber with tons of experience keep reading to see what you can do to make sure you set yourself apart and make the salary that you desire.

A Day in the Life of a Plumber

A plumber’s day can vary depending on their work environment. They may be working in a residential setting, fixing a leaky faucet, installing new piping, or they may be working on a larger commercial job. Regardless of the environment, plumbers must be prepared for anything. They need to be knowledgeable on how to fix a wide variety of problems and have a wide range of tools at their disposal.

Most plumbers start their day by checking their schedules and getting organized. They then head to the job site, where they assess the problem and determine the best way to fix it. In some cases, they may need to get creative to find a solution.

Plumbers may also perform job quotes where they make an assessment of the damage and the cost of repair before the customer agrees to the work being done. Once the problem is fixed, they clean up any mess they made and head back to the shop or home.

A plumber’s average day can be physically demanding, but can also be very rewarding. It is satisfying to be able to solve problems and help people in need. They are an important part of our society and play a crucial role in our infrastructure. Plumbers don’t typically struggle to find work, considering how vital of a role they play to almost every building and structure.

Getting Into the Mind of a Plumber

When plumbers are out on a job they are constantly thinking about the task at hand. Whether that is installing a new system or repairing a damaged one, they are always strategizing the best way to complete the job. A great way to think like a plumber is to act like you are solving a puzzle.

Plumbing is for the most part just a pipe puzzle with water running through it. Thinking about how to solve the puzzle is really what plumbers are doing to fix whatever issue they come across. Properly snaking the pipes so they fit the space and minimize the risk of blockage, what type or size of pipes to put in which places, and what types of fittings they should use.

These are only a few ways plumbers think about solving the problem. If you can manage to simplify your issue and think of it more like a puzzle, it may help you understand the problem and get to a solution faster.

Plumbers Work Environment

plumbing at construction site

Most people think of plumbers as the people who come to your house to fix a leaky faucet or a clogged drain. And while that’s certainly one of the things plumbers do, it’s not all there is to the job. Plumbers also work in a variety of other environments, including factories, construction sites, and even aboard ships.

One of the most common places plumbers work is in factories. Factory work can be tough, especially if you’re working with heavy machinery. But it can also be rewarding since you’re helping those who produce the products that we use every day. Plumbers who work in factories often have to deal with hazardous materials, so it’s important that they be good at following safety procedures.

Another place where plumbers often find employment is on construction sites. Plumbing on a construction site can be a dirty and dangerous job, but also very fulfilling to see a project through from start to finish. Plumbers who work on construction sites typically have to deal with a lot of heavy lifting and working in tight spaces.

Finally, some plumbers even find work aboard ships. Shipboard plumbing can be very challenging since the conditions can be difficult and the space is often limited. But it’s also a great opportunity to see the world and make some money while you’re at it.

Different Plumbing Jobs

Plumbers are responsible for a variety of tasks in order to keep water systems running smoothly. They may be called upon to install new plumbing systems, repair damaged ones, or clean and inspect existing ones. In addition, plumbers may also be responsible for fixture installation and maintenance, as well as working on drainage systems.

Let’s start with plumbers being called to install new plumbing systems. These new systems could be installed in offices, homes, and other types of buildings. The plumbers must measure and plan the system, then drill and cut holes in the correct places to install the piping. They must also be able to solder pipes and joints together and test the system for leaks to ensure their work was done properly.

Another common reason for plumbers to be called is to repair damaged plumbing systems. This may involve fixing leaks in the system, replacing unusable and broken pipes, or repairing damage caused by corrosion. Plumbers must be able to identify the problem and take the necessary steps to fix it. They must also be able to work quickly and efficiently to minimize the amount of disruption to the system.

Lastly, plumbers will also perform regular maintenance on plumbing systems to prevent clogs and backups from forming. One of the main things they do is snaking drains to clear blockages. They may use a motorized snake to do this. In some cases, plumbers may flush the system to get rid of any debris that may have accumulated. By doing this regularly, plumbers can help keep the plumbing running smoothly.

Types of Plumbers

There are several different kinds of plumbers, and each has a different job.

Residential Plumber

The most common type of plumber is the residential plumber. A residential plumber installs, repairs, fits, and maintains pipes in a drainage system for plumbing systems in homes and small businesses. They also do fixtures associated with water heating and cooling, water distribution, and sanitation services. Their duties and responsibilities include interpreting blueprints and building specifications to draw a map layout, documenting problems, and inspecting drainage systems.

A residential plumber will handle clogged sinks and garbage disposals. They will also deal with stopped up sewers caused by tree roots. They will hydro-jet (water-jet) the blockage to get the home’s plumbing flowing again. Hydro-jetting uses a high-pressure hose that has a special nozzle affixed on the end. The hose itself connects to a machine that directs pressurized water through the nozzle to clean and clear out congested sewer pipes.

Last but not least, a residential plumber will also deal with slab leaks. A slab leak is when a leak happens underneath a slab of cement potentially causing severe structural damage.

Commercial Plumber

Another type of plumber is the commercial plumber. They work on plumbing systems in larger businesses and institutions. A commercial plumber will often do repiping for old buildings, such as outdated apartment complexes or historical buildings.

They will also do water heater repair or replacement and since this is done on larger structures, the water heater is typically much larger and far more complex than those on residential buildings. This is why typically a commercial plumber will have more training and require more certification than a residential plumber.

Commercial plumbers will also do water leak detection for business. They will identify the source of the leak and provide the proper measures to get it stopped.

A commercial plumber will perform sewer line repair and replacement. The plumbing system for businesses get a lot of use and sometimes it will get clogged. When this happens a fix is needed immediately, because if ignored the entire business may need to shut down.

Industrial Plumber

The third type of plumber is the industrial plumber. In general, industrial plumbers deal with larger-scale issues in office buildings, businesses, industrial sites and even apartment buildings. That means that they perform the same jobs that a residential plumber does but on a much larger bigger scale. These buildings also tend to be much more complex.

The appliances and pipes that industrial plumbers service are also used on a much more frequent basis, so they tend to break down more often. And when they break down, people expect them to be fixed with haste as it tends to affect a larger number of people. The services provided by an industrial plumber may also include working with significantly higher water pressure than residential plumbers do, so they have different tools to do the same job safely.

Master Plumber

Finally, there is the master plumber. They are licensed professionals who have the highest level of training and experience in plumbing. They can do everything that other plumbers can do, as well as design and oversee large-scale plumbing projects.

A master plumber installs, maintains and repairs systems in a highly skilled manner that exceeds the expertise of average plumbers. They are responsible for maintaining and repairing both outdoor and indoor plumbing issues.

To become a master plumber, you must complete an apprenticeship, become a licensed journeyman and earn a license to be a master plumber. Master plumbers can choose to specialize in one area of plumbing.

Other duties include:

  • Maintaining and repairing urinals, toilets, faucets and other general plumbing components
  • Repairing and replacing steam and hot water exchangers for large building heating systems and swimming pools
  • Repairing and replacing sewage pumps, water heater pumps and chilled water pumps
  • Monitoring other plumbers who are working on commercial and residential sites
  • Maintaining the safety of facilities by replacing flooring and damaged ceiling tiles
  • Performing troubleshooting tasks and repairing water, steam and gas distribution systems
  • Interpreting blueprints to plan and conduct repairs and modifications
  • Maintaining and repairing radiator valves, steam valves and condensate pipes

Becoming a Plumber

The process of becoming a plumber is not difficult but it’s also not just a walk in the park. There are specific educational requirements that must be met before one can even become an apprentice. There are many skills that must be mastered in order to become a successful plumber.

The first step in becoming a plumber is to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. After that, one should complete a plumbing program at a trade school or community college. These programs typically last for two years (sometimes less) and offer courses in plumbing theory, math, blueprint reading, and safety. While this isn’t required it’s important to take the time to study, learn, and understand being a plumber.

Once the formal education is completed, the next step is to become an apprentice. This can be done by finding an employer who is willing to train an apprentice or by taking an apprenticeship program through a union or trade organization. Apprentices typically work for four to five years while learning the necessary skills to become a plumber.

Some of the skills that must be mastered in order to become a plumber include installing and repairing pipes, fixing leaks, and diagnosing problems. Plumbers must also be able to work effectively with others and have good communication skills.

Becoming a plumber can be challenging at times, but it is also a very rewarding career. Those who are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to become proficient in this trade will find plenty of job opportunities available.

Getting Your License in Ohio

Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you will need to pass the Ohio Plumbing License Exam. This exam is administered by the Ohio Board of Plumbing Examiners and covers a range of topics, including safety, plumbing codes and principles, and hydronic heating.

To prepare for the exam, it’s important to study hard and practice as many sample questions as possible. You can find practice exams and other resources on the Board of Plumbing Examiners website. Additionally, it’s helpful to have a strong understanding of the English language, as the exam is written in English.

Once you have passed the exam, you will be able to work as a licensed plumber in Ohio. Congratulations!

The Tools Plumbers Use

Many plumbers use a variety of hand tools to complete their jobs. Some of which you may have even heard of or used yourself.

Here are a few examples of tools plumbers will be exposed to and how they are used:

  • Pipe wrenches: Used to grip and turn pipe fittings. They come in various sizes, depending on the diameter of the pipe.
  • Channel locks: Pliers with serrated jaws that can be used to grip and turn nuts and bolts.
  • Hacksaws: Used to cut metal tubing and other solid objects. They have a frame that holds a blade in place, which is then pulled back and forth to cut through the material.
  • Tongs: Used to grip and move hot objects, such as pipes that have been heated with a torch.
  • Adjustable wrenches: Made to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts that have non-standard sizes, where a normal pipe wrench wouldn’t work.
  • Pipe cutters: These are used to cut metal pipes. They have a cutting wheel that is rotated around the pipe to cut through it.

Most plumbers rely on an assortment of tools to do their job. Each of these tools has a specific purpose that helps the plumber complete their tasks.

These tools are essential for completing plumbing tasks. They help the plumber secure pipes, fix leaks, and connect components. Without these tools, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a plumber to do their job properly. It is also a good idea to have somewhere to put all of your tools. There are many popular toolbags amongst technicians to choose from.


Becoming a plumber is a great career choice with many opportunities for growth. The job outlook looks good, the pay is excellent and you have the chance to work in a variety of different environments.

Plumbers are always in high demand and usually, don’t struggle to find job opportunities. So if you’re looking for stability and security in your career, plumbing may be the perfect fit. It’s also a very interesting and challenging trade that takes years of practice to master. Are you ready to start your journey toward becoming a plumber?

If by chance you are already a plumber or run your own plumbing business, there is another tool that you might not be aware of that can help with everyday work process. Field service software, offered by Smart Service, can eliminate double data entry, the need for paper and filing cabinets, and streamline everyday work process like scheduling and routing. With the industry becoming so competitive, many companies are taking advantages of such technologies to improve their bottom line and customer satisfaction. Try a free software demo today!