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Pipe fitter Pipefitter

Pipe fitters install industrial pipework, valves and pumps in factories, commercial premises and large buildings like power stations.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 to 50 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need experience and qualifications in engineering, welding or plumbing.

You'll also need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a site. This proves you’re qualified to work safely.

You may need a driving licence and your own transport to travel between sites.

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) has more details about this career.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to follow technical diagrams
  • maths skills
  • practical ability
  • problem solving skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll install and weld pipework on construction and engineering projects. Jobs can range from fitting heating systems in a hospital to installing pressure vessels and boilers in a factory.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working out the best way to do a job based on engineering design plans
  • installing and joining pipework and components using bolting and welding methods
  • making or modifying parts in a workshop
  • carrying out planned maintenance checks
  • finding and fixing faults
  • responding to emergency call-outs

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £26,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work between 40 and 50 hours a week.

You’ll be based at the client’s site and in an engineering workshop. Some of the work will be at height and in confined spaces.

6. Career path and progression

You can improve your career prospects by completing industry qualifications like the Level 3 Diploma in Pipefitting or Level 3 Diploma in Welding Engineering. These would allow you to progress to become an engineering technician.

With experience, you could be promoted to a supervisory role or become a workshop manager. You could also work in welding inspection and quality control. There may also be opportunities to move into engineering design, where you'll draw up pipework installation plans.

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Last updated: 22 December 2016