As long as people rely on indoor plumbing, we will need experienced, skilled plumbers to install, repair, and maintain the systems we use every day. Being a plumber is not only an in-demand job but one that generally pays well. A plumber’s average annual salary in the U.S. is $74,253, according to ZipRecruiter.
A plumber’s expertise spans from diagnosing and repairing leaks in people’s homes to planning commercial piping and municipal sewer systems.
If you enjoy working with both your hands and machinery, have strong attention to detail, and are a good problem-solver, being a plumber might be the right job for you. Read on to learn more about how much plumbers make per hour, how salaries vary by region, and other factors to consider before you decide to pursue a career in plumbing.
What Are Plumbers?
Plumbers are skilled professionals who install, maintain, and repair plumbing systems that supply residential and commercial properties with water and gas and carry away waste. Plumbers play a crucial role in ensuring these systems function properly and efficiently. Their expertise applies both to municipal sewers and single-home septic systems.
Plumbers diagnose and fix various issues related to plumbing systems, such as leaks, clogs, and malfunctions in pipes or fixtures. They also perform routine maintenance to prevent problems and keep plumbing systems in good working order.
In some cases, plumbers are involved in the initial design and planning stages of construction or renovation projects, ensuring that plumbing systems are installed efficiently and meet local building codes and regulations. Some plumbers may specialize in specific areas, such as commercial plumbing, industrial plumbing, or specific types of systems like hydronic heating.
Check your score with SoFi
Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*
How Much Does a Plumber Make Per Year Starting Out?
A plumber can make a good entry-level salary that continues to increase over time. For example, plumbers with less than one year of experience earn, on average, $50,129, while the average salary for a plumber with more than 10 years of experience is $72,740 per year.
💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.
What Is the Average Salary for a Plumber?
Plumbers can earn either an hourly rate or an annual salary, depending on the type of work they do. How much a plumber makes per hour can range anywhere from around $18 to $53. The average hourly pay for a licensed plumber in the U. S. as of January 2024 is $35.70 an hour, per ZipRecruiter. The current national average for how much a plumber makes a year is $74,253.
How much money a plumber makes can vary by location. What follows is a breakdown of how much plumbers make a year (on average) by state.
Average Plumber Salary by State for 2024 (Highest to Lowest)
|Average Annual Salary
Recommended: 15 Entry-Level Jobs for Antisocial People
Plumber Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits
Plumbing has become a popular trade because of the various perks and financial advantages that come along with the job. First, the average starting salary of $50,129 is higher than in many industries. Plus, some plumbers are union members, which means that their salaries are protected by a contract and they may receive attractive health insurance and retirement packages.
Learning to be a plumber is also less demanding than obtaining a four-year bachelor’s degree. You can study to be a plumber by attending trade school or technical college. Usually, it takes anywhere between four and 24 months to complete your schooling.
Furthermore, plumbers-in-training typically can become apprentices while they’re completing their education. Apprenticeships let you work and learn simultaneously, meaning you’ll earn competitive pay while you work toward certification. For these reasons, plumbers can often finish their education with little to no student loans.
Plumbing is also a steady profession that will likely always be in demand. Even during economic downturns, residential and commercial buildings won’t stop needing running water and working toilets.
Lastly, plumbers can advance through the ranks to increase their pay and move into new roles. For example, attaining journeyman status often leads to a significant bump in salary. On average, journeyman plumbers earn $64,520, a $14,391 increase over the average starting salary.
Likewise, you could become a plumbing engineer or a superintendent to manage municipal jobs. Many plumbers also start their own businesses, which could lead to a job that pays $100,000 or more.
💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.
Pros and Cons of a Plumber Salary
As with any profession, there are both advantages and disadvantages to being a plumber. Carefully considering each can assist you in determining if this is the right career for you.
Pros of Being a Plumber
Becoming a plumber can offer several attractive advantages:
• Job security Plumbing is an essential service that is always in demand. Even during an economic recession, people will always need plumbing services.
• Good pay Plumbers are well-compensated for their expertise from the get-go. With experience and expertise, plumbers can earn a substantial income. Plus, less need for student loans means debt likely won’t erode your earnings.
• Daily exercise Plumbing work often involves physical tasks such as lifting, bending, and carrying equipment. This aspect of the job provides plumbers with regular physical activity, contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
• Promotion and business ownership opportunities As a plumber gains experience and expertise, they can ascend the ranks (such as moving from journeyman to master plumber) to increase their pay and access new projects. Additionally, some plumbers choose to start their own businesses, which can be highly profitable and offer independence.
• Variety during work Plumbers typically encounter a wide range of challenges and tasks on the job. For example, you might replace piping one day and fix a host of leaky faucets the next. This variety can keep the work exciting and engaging.
Recommended: 30 Low-Stress Jobs for Introverts Without a Degree
Cons of Being a Plumber
However, plumbers also face the following challenges:
• Physically taxing Plumbing work often requires physical strength and endurance. Plumbers may need to lift heavy equipment, crawl into tight spaces, and crouch for hours on end. These repeated tasks can lead to strain or fatigue.
• Lack of routine Plumbing work can be less predictable than some office jobs that follow a set schedule. The unpredictability can be stressful for those who want the same pattern in their work every day or week.
• Working at all hours Plumbing issues can arise at any time, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Plumbers may need to be on-call or work during off-hours to address urgent situations. These situations impact work-life balance and require a degree of flexibility in one’s schedule.
• Risk of injury Working with plumbing systems and tools can pose certain risks. Plumbers may be exposed to sharp objects, hot surfaces, chemicals, and falling pipes. Additionally, working in confined spaces or at heights can increase the risk of accidents or injuries.
• High pressure environment Addressing leaking sewage and malfunctioning water systems can be stressful and clients may be stressed and difficult to work with. Furthermore, plumbers must navigate unpredictable environments and situations, necessitating the ability to remain composed even in hazardous conditions.
Recommended: 11 Work-From-Home Jobs Great for Retirees
Plumbers make a desirable starting salary with plenty of room to advance their careers. They can enjoy the satisfaction of helping others with an essential aspect of life and rest in the fact that the profession isn’t going anywhere.
However, plumbing can impose physical wear and tear, cause injuries, and require work in extreme conditions. The tradeoff for low or no student debt and consistent, lucrative work is the tough physical labor and the possibility of working late hours.
Even after weighing the potential cons, however, you may decide that a trade profession such as plumbing can help you further your professional and financial goals.
What is the highest paying plumber job?
The highest paying plumber job is a plumbing engineer, which requires engineering knowledge and project management skills. This position can pay as much as $112,000 annually.
Do Plumbers make 100k a year?
Plumbers at the highest levels of the profession can make $100,000 per year. Specifically, plumbing engineers (who design plumbing systems for private, public, or commercial buildings) and plumbers who own their own companies can potentially earn six figures a year.
How much do plumbers make starting out?
Plumbers with less than one year of experience earn, on average, $50,129 per year.
Photo credit: iStock/Yaroslav Astakhov
*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.