Pipefitters install various pipework, valves, and pumps, on commercial and industrial premises or projects. The pipes they work with often deal with high pressure and carry hazardous substances, so Pipefitters must hold the appropriate qualifications and certifications to carry out their role.
How to get qualified
You can take two main routes to qualify as a Pipefitter, either completing an advanced apprenticeship or undertaking a college course.
Apprenticeships are a combination of being employed for the job you’re training to do while studying a formal qualification. By the end of the apprenticeship, you will have gained a nationally recognised qualification and the skills and experience to take the next step in your career. Apprenticeships are an excellent route for a becoming a Pipefitter because you gain practical work experience, which is something many employees look for when hiring. Additionally, students will earn a wage while learning rather than paying expensive tuition fees. There are three types of apprenticeships available; an advanced apprenticeship, a higher apprenticeship, or a degree apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships suitable for becoming a pipefitter include:
- Engineering Pipefitter
- Engineering Construction Pipefitter
- Pipe Welder
Another route to becoming a Pipefitter is by completing a relevant course at college. There is typically a wider variety of subjects that can be utilised to become a Pipefitter. These include:
- Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
- Level 2 Certificate in Welding
- Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing and Heating
- Level 3 Diploma in Building Services Engineering
- T Level in Building Services Engineering for Construction
What do Pipefitters do?
Pipefitters work with pipes containing and transporting substances for hydraulic systems and pipe infrastructure. Pipefitters predominantly operate in industrial settings that use substantial piping, such as factories and power stations. The systems Pipefitters create will carry a range of substances, including water, steam, fuel, and chemicals.
Pipefitters are similar to Plumbers, but they generally work with industrial systems with specialised pipes and complex configurations, requiring technical knowledge and skills. Their daily workload will vary depending on where they work, but their primary responsibilities include reading and designing blueprints so they can correctly install complex systems. Once installed, they will also maintain and repair pipework, ensuring they’re working correctly.
Pipefitters use various tools to shape, cut and connect pipes, including a blow torch, a saw, and a grinder. They also work with a range of materials with different qualities, including hazardous substances. Therefore, good health and safety practice is a crucial component of their job. Pipefitters must follow safety precautions when operating machinery and handling dangerous materials. They will typically wear various personal protective equipment and have an abundance of knowledge about the substances they’re working with to keep themselves and others safe.
Pipefitters may work on numerous projects, so their location can often change, and they may visit several work sites throughout the working day. In addition, Pipefitters operate indoors and outdoors while installing or repairing piping systems and sometimes have to operate in a cramped or claustrophobic workspace.
Becoming a Pipefitter is a great career choice. It’s a skilled trade that will always be in demand, and currently, a Pipefitter can typically expect to earn £35,734 per year.
Check out our latest vacancies if you’re a Pipefitter looking for a new role.