How Much Do Plumbers Make?

Plumbers' tools and pipes -- Wondering how much do plumbers make?

If you’re asking, “How much do plumbers make?” you might be considering plumbing as a profession. That’s good because plumbers have very rewarding jobs!

In addition to helping repair and maintain plumbing infrastructure, plumbers get the satisfaction of designing and installing new plumbing systems in homes and businesses. As a plumber, you get to create. That’s not something you can do in many jobs – especially most other jobs that don’t require a college degree.

Of course, a good job isn’t just one that makes you happy. It needs to pay well, too. Thankfully, plumbing does pay well. Very well. You might not make a whole lot starting out, but you can quickly grow into roles with more responsibility and start earning more.

Let’s take a look at your career and compensation trajectory in the plumbing profession.

How much do plumbers make per year?

Your pay as a plumber depends on how much experience you have and the kind of plumbing work you’re doing. For example, journeyman residential plumbers who specialize in keeping pipes free and clear might not earn as much as master plumbers creating plumbing systems for new commercial construction.

Or maybe they do make the same amount! It all depends on your local market and how much your employer is able to pay.

With that in mind, let’s consider some compensation figures from a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) survey. According to the plumbers surveyed by the NCCER, the average annual salary was $73,320. That works out to about $38 per hour, assuming one works 48 weeks out of the year.

That’s really great money! And it doesn’t even figure in the extra “pay” many employers provide in the form of health insurance, life insurance, and retirement benefits.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the NCCER figure is an average. It includes compensation data for entry-level plumbers and experienced plumbers who earn much more. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by contrast, provides median payment figures for the plumbing profession. Their numbers put plumbers’ median pay at $59,880 per year.

While that’s certainly less than the NCCER average, it’s still an excellent pay rate. Depending on where you work, your role, and for whom you’re employed, you might earn toward the high or low end of the spectrum. Either way, you’ll be able to make a great living in a rewarding profession that’s always in demand.

How much do plumbers make per hour?

This is a great question! Many plumbers are paid hourly, especially when they’re just starting out. Even many experienced plumbers earn an hourly wage. And if you own your own plumbing business, you earn the difference between the hourly rate that customers have to pay you and your expenses for operating the business.

Anyhow, a plumber’s average hourly wage is about $38 per hour according to the NCCER survey figures. US Bureau of Labor Statistics medians put hourly pay for plumbers at $28.79.

Again, these figures are different because one is an average and one is a median. No matter how you look at it, they’re both great wages.

How do you start working as a plumber?

The best way to start working as a plumber is to get an entry-level construction or plumbing job. Many of these jobs require some experience and/or training, and there are a couple of ways to get it:

  1. Dedicated training program: That’s what we do. At Construction Ready, we offer a 20-day training program for adults of all ages and backgrounds. The training is fully funded by private donations and government grants, so students pay nothing to attend. During the training, you can learn key construction skills and earn construction credentials that are desirable to employers. Thanks to our hiring fair program, 97% of graduates already have a job lined up before the 20 days are over.
  2. Community college: Many community and technical colleges offer certificates or associate’s degrees in the skilled trades. You can study plumbing at one of these schools and spend a few months to a year earning a credential. You may also have to cover the costs of tuition while in training.

After completing your initial training, you can seek out jobs at construction companies or with plumbing contractors. Entry-level pay starts at around $14 to $20 per hour. Typically, you can quickly work your way up (often in just a few months) and take on more responsibility for higher pay. Construction companies tend to promote from within – and quickly – so you’ll be well on your way to higher earnings in no time.

What is a typical journeyman plumber salary?

You might be wondering what your pay as a plumber will be like as you work your way into a senior role. Surely there are some years between when you earn your entry-level wage and when you’re earning at the top of the payscale for a plumber, right?

The answer is yes. In some circles, the period of time you’re thinking of is called your “journeyman” period. During this period, you aren’t a rookie anymore, but you’re not exactly the most experienced plumber you know either.

According to Zip Recruiter, journeyman plumbers make between $42,000 and $68,000 per year, depending on the state where they live. In general, salaries seem to be commensurate with the local cost of living, so the overall standard of living for plumbers in these areas will be roughly the same.

Some states officially recognize the journeyman stage of your plumbing career with a special license. To qualify for it, you typically have to rack up a certain number of supervised hours and pass a a state licensing exam. Check your state’s requirements to see if a journeyman license exists where you live.

Take the first step in your plumbing career

If you’re ready to begin your plumbing career, Construction Ready is a fantastic way to get started. Our fully funded training costs you nothing, helps you earn in-demand construction credentials, and connects you with employers in your area that are hiring!

Get in touch today to learn more about our program for adult jobseekers!

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