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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

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).

Duties & Tasks of a Plumber

Plumbers: • 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.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,142

Future growth:

Strong

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 0.6%

NSW NSW 32.4%

NT NT 1.5%

QLD QLD 15%

SA SA 5.7%

TAS TAS 2%

VIC VIC 33.1%

WA WA 9.7%

Hours worked:

39.9

Unemployment:

Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 99.2%

Female 0.8%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 17.1%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 13.6%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 69.3%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 8.9%

20-24 - 15.7%

25-34 - 31.7%

35-44 - 14.9%

45-54 - 16.4%

55-59 - 5.5%

60-64 - 5.1%

65 and Over - 1.9%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Related careers