How to become a Plumber

Plumbers lay out, install, test and maintain pipes, fixtures, metal roofing, fittings, gas meters and regulators.

Personal requirements of a Plumber

  • Enjoy practical work
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to work at heights and in various weather conditions
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Good mobility

Education & Training for a Plumber

To become a plumber you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Plumbing or Roof Plumbing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Plumber

Plumbers may perform the following tasks:

  • prepare and/or study plans and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing systems and materials needed
  • find and mark positions for connections, measure pipes and mark cutting or bending lines, then cut holes through walls and floors to accommodate pipes
  • cut, thread and bend pipes, assemble and install piping, valves and fittings, and join pipe sections and secure pipes
  • test lines as required by local plumbing regulations
  • install equipment such as boilers, chillers, pumps, heating and cooling systems, gas appliances, water tanks, water heaters and solar water heating systems, and fixtures such as toilets, wash basins and industrial processing units
  • weld and braise pipework (steel, copper, plastic and stainless steel)
  • system testing and commissioning
  • maintain and repair plumbing systems.

Employment Opportunities for a Plumber

The industry is dominated by small firms and self-employed tradespeople. Plumbers may also work for federal or state and territory government departments concerned with public works. Plumbers are involved in everything from domestic maintenance to high-rise construction. Competition is strong for available apprenticeship positions. With further training and experience, plumbers can become technical and sales representatives, building supervisors, building and construction managers, plumbing inspectors, hydraulics consultants, technical teachers, estimators, building contract administrators or purchasing officers, or start their own business. Demand is linked with activity in the construction industry. However, unlike in other building trades, downturns in building activity have less effect on plumbers because of the work available in renovation and maintenance. Demand is also more stable because, by law, certain jobs must be performed by plumbers.

Specialisations:


Drainer

A drainer installs, maintains and repairs pipes in storm water or sewerage systems and drains. They also install septic tanks, holding wells, sullage pits and absorption tracks.


Gasfitter

A gasfitter installs, maintains, tests and repairs gas lines, meters, regulators, hot water systems and appliances.


Irrigation Installer

An irrigation installer plans, designs and installs large watering systems for environments such as golf courses and parks.


Mechanical Services Plumber

A mechanical services plumber installs and services plant and equipment used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) in industrial and commercial buildings.


Roofing Plumber

A roofing plumber installs and fixes metal roofs, flashings, gutters, downpipes, rainwater products and other accessories on residential, industrial and commercial buildings. The work conducted by roofing plumbers includes working outdoors, in a team environment and safely at heights.


Sprinkler Fitter

A sprinkler fitter installs and maintains fire protection systems.

Additional Information
Plumbers must apply for registration and licensing with the relevant body in their state or territory. Post-trade qualifications from the Construction, Plumbing and Services Training Package may be required to fulfil registration requirements for more specialised areas of work, such as gasfitting, draining, hydraulics and fire protection. Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC).
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