What Does a Plumber Do?

Plumber Sarasota installs, repairs, and maintains pipes, fixtures, and appliances that facilitate water supply and waste disposal in residential and commercial settings. They may work independently or as part of a plumbing contractor.


This profession requires critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills. It also requires physical strength to lift heavy equipment and tools. Soft skills are also necessary, including solid customer service and communication abilities.

A plumber is a tradesperson who installs, repairs and maintains systems that transport water, gas or hot liquids. They are patient individuals with a practical mind and manual dexterity who work efficiently with great attention to detail. Plumbers frequently collaborate with construction teams to ensure plumbing systems integrate seamlessly into building projects and meet required standards and regulations. They may also provide emergency services, such as fixing burst pipes and clogged drains.

Plumbers must be comfortable working in cramped conditions and using a variety of specialized tools. They must also have strong communication skills and be able to effectively explain complex plumbing issues in layman’s terms. Depending on their area of expertise, they may work on residential or commercial plumbing projects.

Assembles and installs piping, such as copper, PEX, and galvanized pipe. Prepares and inspects plumbing work sites to determine materials, equipment, and tools needed. Reads blueprints, sketches, and schematics to develop a plan for the work. Uses hand or power tools to cut, shape and assemble pipe sections and fittings, including valves, faucets, water heaters, basins, drains, hydrants, and backflow preventer devices. Installs sanitary sewer and storm drains, and pipes, including underground piping, as directed by supervisors. Troubleshoots system operating problems and performs preventive maintenance.

Works with customers to assess their plumbing needs and provides recommendations. Collaborates with supervisors and other departmental personnel to ensure work is completed on time and within budget. Completes inspection reports and other documentation to document the status of work projects, materials used, man-hours utilized, and other relevant information. Assists in training less experienced plumbers and provides technical advice.

Plumbers often work on weekends and evenings to accommodate customers’ schedules. They must be willing to work overtime when necessary. In addition, they must be able to lift heavy objects and operate manual and electrically powered plumbing tools and equipment. They must be able to safely and competently clear obstructions in drain lines, perform repairs on water supply and drainage systems, and replace and repair fixtures such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers. They may also need to test and evaluate backflow prevention devices.

Education and Training Requirements

Many states require plumbers to be licensed, and the process for obtaining a license usually requires 2-5 years of experience. There are several ways to become a licensed plumber, including attending trade school or completing an apprenticeship. Some trade schools have accelerated programs that can help you become licensed more quickly, but they tend to cost more money. Apprenticeships are often less expensive, and they provide hands-on training in all aspects of plumbing.

In order to be a successful plumber, you need a strong combination of technical knowledge and practical skills. You must understand how different types of systems work, from the plumbing in homes to larger scale plumbing in hospitals and offices. You also need to know how to install and repair a variety of different tools and fixtures. Plumbers must also be familiar with building codes and safety regulations.

A good plumber is able to solve complex problems and think critically. They should be able to read blueprints and diagrams in order to understand how each piece of equipment fits together. They must have physical stamina, as they may spend long periods of time on their feet and use heavy tools. Plumbers must also be able to communicate effectively with clients, as they will need to explain complicated plumbing issues in layman’s terms.

While a plumber’s job can be stressful at times, it is also rewarding. Most plumbers find that they enjoy their careers, and the satisfaction comes from being able to fix things that other people can’t. Most Americans work well into their 60s, so it’s important to find a career that is enjoyable and fulfilling.

If you are interested in becoming a plumber, start by getting a high school diploma or GED certificate. Then you can take some college courses, such as math (algebra and geometry), science (chemistry and physics) and computer-aided drafting if offered. Some community colleges offer certificate programs that can prepare you for a career as a plumber, and they can be completed in about one to two years.

License Requirements

The job of a plumber is highly technical, and most jurisdictions require years of training and work experience before a person can earn a license to work independently. Plumbers are also required to pass a comprehensive exam that tests their skills and knowledge of local codes and regulations.

Some states offer a four to five year apprenticeship program that includes classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training. Apprentices must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for these programs.

Most apprenticeships require a background check, drug screening and a physical before beginning the program. Plumbers should be aware that their work may expose them to infectious diseases including hepatitis, cholera, typhoid and polio. Plumbers who work with sewage systems in particular, could be exposed to microbes excreted in human waste that enter the water supply or contaminate the toilets and drains.

In addition to plumbing skills, successful plumbers must be able to communicate effectively and safely. They must be able to explain complex plumbing problems to customers and follow all relevant safety procedures to protect themselves and others. Plumbers often work on large projects as part of a team, so strong interpersonal skills are vital to ensuring that projects are completed efficiently.

A career as a plumber can be quite rewarding, but it requires dedication and a willingness to learn. There are many opportunities to advance within the profession, such as becoming a master plumber or branching out into new areas of plumbing, like gas and fire sprinklers. Plumbers can also choose to become union plumbers, which can increase their pay significantly.

Plumbers must have a high level of physical strength to be able to lift heavy tools and equipment. They must be able to operate hand and power tools as well as hydraulic and pneumatic machinery. Additionally, they must have good attention to detail to ensure that their work meets all the requirements of state and local code. Because technology is rapidly changing, plumbers must continue to take classes and courses to maintain their knowledge of the latest advancements.


As a skilled tradesperson, a plumber is well-paid for their knowledge and expertise. This profession has a number of career paths, including becoming a master plumber or moving into management.

While some may choose to enter the field of plumbing for the money, most enjoy it because they have a natural aptitude for the work. This is particularly true for those who become journey-level plumbers through an apprenticeship, which takes two or more years to complete. The average salary for a journey plumber is $55,337 per year, with those with the most experience earning up to $84,000.

In addition to hard skills, plumbers must also have soft skills that enable them to communicate with customers and collaborate with other workers. These include good listening, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. These traits are particularly important in a job where problems can be time-consuming and expensive. For example, if a pipe bursts and floods a house, the homeowner wants the issue fixed immediately so they can continue to use their home and avoid costly repairs.

Plumbers must also have good organizational and planning skills in order to meet deadlines and ensure that all necessary materials are available for jobs. This is especially important when working with large commercial clients, such as restaurants and hospitals. It is also beneficial for plumbers to develop their management and leadership skills, as they may be required to manage other employees in their career.

The salary for a plumber varies depending on their location and industry. In general, the best-paid plumbers are those working in large, corporate organizations such as hospitals or universities. These jobs often offer competitive compensation and benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible work schedules. The lowest-paid plumbers work for municipal government agencies or in residential construction. This type of work usually offers lower compensation, but it can be more stable and offer opportunities for advancement. The quickest ways to increase your earnings as a plumber are through promotion or starting your own company. While both of these options are difficult and require a significant amount of dedication, they can help you make the most out of your career in the skilled trades.