Plumbing can be a challenging industry where you work not only with pipes but also various fixtures, hot water heaters, and more.
When you enjoy working with your hands, becoming a plumber can be a great career choice – especially since you can get started faster than with other careers.
Learning about the pros and cons will make it easier for you to determine if it is the right career for you.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Plumber
- Cons of Being a Plumber
- Pros and Cons of Being a Plumber – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Plumber?
Pros of Being a Plumber
There are a number of advantages to being a plumber.
Many plumbers stay employed within their career field for decades – and by knowing about the pros, you can learn why it may be the right move for you.
1. No College Degree is Necessary
You do not need any kind of college degree to become a plumber.
Once you have your high school diploma or GED, you can move right into an apprenticeship program.
Most states will require you to have at least 2 years/4,000 hours of experience to become a licensed plumber.
You will also need to take board-approved training as well as pass a licensing exam.
This is considerably cheaper (and faster) than a four-year degree like other careers require.
2. Pay is High
Plumbers can earn a significant amount of money – it all depends on whether you work for a plumbing company, or you go into business for yourself.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for plumbers in 2020 was $56,330 per year.
Remember, too, that this is what you can earn without having to go to college, so you never have to worry about student loans having a negative impact on your finances.
3. You Can Work for Yourself
Once you are a licensed plumber, you have the ability to go into business for yourself.
This allows you to set your rates and keep all of the earnings, aside from parts.
This can help you to increase your earning potential, though you will also be responsible for marketing, taxes, and other aspects of business ownership.
4. You Have Flexible Hours
You will have the ability to choose the hours you want to work, especially if you stay self-employed.
The flexibility can make it easier for you to achieve a desirable work-life balance.
You can choose to work specific days of the week as well as work earlier or later in the day.
Of course, the more hours you dedicate to plumbing, the more you can earn.
5. You Can Handle DIY Projects
Labor is one of the most expensive aspects of home renovation and remodeling.
When you are a plumber, you can handle an array of DIY projects, ranging from changing out the fixtures in your bathroom to fixing clogs in your kitchen sink.
You may even be able to trade with other tradesmen in your area so that you offer plumbing services in exchange for their know-how in another field.
6. There is Great Job Security
Plumbers are often in high demand, which is why you can enjoy plenty of job security.
As you learn more skills, such as how to work with tankless water heaters and more, it can help you to stay employed.
Often, it comes down to the flexibility that you have on the job and what you can offer your employer.
The harder you work, the more indispensable you become.
7. Avoid Traditional Office Work
If the idea of sitting in an office for 40 hours a week sounds boring to you, plumbing can be a great career track.
You will be working in a variety of environments, both indoors and out.
Additionally, every day is met with a different set of challenges.
It will ensure that you do not get bored – and you will not spend your days sitting in front of a computer, either.
8. You will Stay Physically Fit
Plumbers are constantly on the go – and there is often some heavy lifting associated with the job.
You will be walking, lifting, and bending throughout the day.
It ensures that you will stay physically fit on the job without the need to pay for a gym membership.
The number of calories you burn throughout the day may also leave you hungry and tired by the time you get home, too.
9. Weekends and Holidays are Typically Off
Most plumbers have weekends and holidays off.
This allows you to plan time for yourself, go on vacation, and have a life.
Of course, if there is a plumbing emergency and you do find yourself working on a weekend or a holiday, you can typically charge the client a higher rate because it is outside of the “standard” workweek.
Being on-call can be a great way to earn more money.
Cons of Being a Plumber
As with any job, there are cons to be aware of.
It is important to know about the cons of being a plumber so that you do not get into the career field and get surprised.
Take the time to read through the cons to make sure you are okay with some of the downsides.
1. It Is a Dirty Job
Plumbing can be a dirty job depending on what you are tasked to do for the day.
Often, people call a plumber when they cannot figure out the task on their own – or once things have gotten worse.
You may end up digging up a sump tank in the front yard, dealing with sewage backup in the bathroom, or any number of things.
It can leave you filthy and smelling badly by the end of the day.
2. Training Can Be Time-Consuming
In order to get licensed, the training is going to be time-consuming.
Depending on how you go about getting the experience, you may have to do a lot of work without getting paid a lot.
You will be the one tasked with all of the menial work so that it can be a “training opportunity.”
You will want to remember that after all of the training is done, you are rewarded with a full-time career.
3. People Will Think Less of You
Plumbers do not have glamorous jobs.
Many people think that plumbers are dirty, and there is not usually a high social status for anyone who works with their hands.
Having a blue-collar job is an important one to have, but there will be those who turn their nose up at you.
As long as you can accept how certain parts of society will view you, it can still be a great job to have – especially knowing how everyone will need a plumber at one point or another.
4. The Benefits are Not Great
The benefits that you get as a plumber are not always great – and in some instances, non-existent.
Many plumbing companies will pay you a decent wage, but you will have to buy health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits on your own – or risk not having them at all.
You also will not be given any kind of pension or 401k plan with most plumbing companies.
If you do get benefits, they typically include the basics.
A lack of benefits can lead to paying more out of pocket, which counteracts your high paycheck.
5. You Have to Work with Difficult Clients
Many clients call a plumber because they are having an emergency.
They pretend as though their emergency should be your top concern – and it can lead to a lot of rude and impatient people throughout the workday.
You will need to put on your best customer service face in order to deal with everyone – or risk your reputation as you deal with them in a less-than-desirable way.
6. It is a Physically Demanding Job
Being a plumber can be difficult – and there is usually no way to walk away from a job until you are done with it.
You may be bent over under a sink for hours at a time.
You may spend hours in a ditch with water (or sewage) surrounding you.
The physical demands can lead to back pain and other ailments, which can catch up to you sooner than you think.
By the time you get home on most days, you will be exhausted.
7. You are Held Liable for Mistakes
There is a reason why plumbers need to be insured.
If there is a mistake made, they are held liable.
Even if you are well-trained on a particular issue, you can still make a mistake – and people may choose to sue you because of it.
This can take a toll on your reputation as well as your finances – and if you have too many claims against you, it could end your career.
Pros and Cons of Being a Plumber – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Plumber||Cons of Being a Plumber|
|No College Degree is Necessary||It Is a Dirty Job|
|Pay is High||Training Can Be Time-Consuming|
|You Can Work for Yourself||People Will Think Less of You|
|You Have Flexible Hours||The Benefits are Not Great|
|You Can Handle DIY Projects||You Have to Work with Difficult Clients|
|There is Great Job Security||It is a Physically Demanding Job|
|Avoid Traditional Office Work||You are Held Liable for Mistakes|
|You will Stay Physically Fit|
|Weekends and Holidays are Typically Off|
Should You Become a Plumber?
Ultimately, plumbers have a significant amount of skill, which can serve them well throughout their careers.
Once you become licensed, you can build a strong reputation in your community, helping you to be successful.
While it is a dirty and physically demanding job, there are plenty of advantages to the job, too.
Talk with a few plumbers in your area to learn more about the job so that you can decide if it is a career path you want to travel down.