If you are considering a change in career paths during these trying times, you may want to consider the plumbing trade. Journey-level plumbers complete home repairs, work on new commercial and residential construction, or in manufacturing plants around the state.
Working conditions can vary depending on the job and industry. Plumbers might use hand and power tools or welding or soldering equipment depending on what work is needed. Plumbers need a combination of strength and stamina as the work may require lifting heavy pipes, fitting into uncomfortable or sometimes cramped locations, and being able to stand for long periods of time. Plumbers can also be exposed to all kinds of weather, especially in Oregon, as their work may take them outdoors.
Nationwide, the BLS estimates that most plumbers are employed by building equipment contractors, nonresidential building contractors, and utility system construction firms. Some of the top paying plumbing positions are found in support activities for mining, foundries, and motor vehicle parts manufacturing. In 2008, the BLS estimated that a little more than 12 percent of plumbers were self employed, while about 31 percent of plumbers were part of a union.
A plumber's apprenticeship typically lasts four to five years. Apprentices start out earning about half of what their journey-level counterparts make. Depending on progress in the program, wages can increase every six months. The apprenticeship includes at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. It will also include a minimum of 144 hours of related instruction each year of the apprenticeship. Instruction topics include: service and repair, water system installation, blueprint and drawing training, and Oregon OSHA safety regulations for construction.
|Plumber Wages, Selected Areas in Oregon, 2011|
|Percentiles (Hourly Wages)||Hourly||Annual|