what is a plumber?

A plumber is responsible for maintaining and installing pipes in homes and businesses. These pipes are used for drainage, irrigation, sewage and drinking water. Plumbers are familiar with building regulations, safety standards and guidelines. Some plumbing professionals work alongside architects, contributing valuable knowledge. You can work on-site physically installing plumbing features or in a design capacity.

Plumbers who work in a design capacity or on drafting blueprints focus on improving the efficiency of the installation process. Plumbing is a profession that has several possible career paths. While most plumbers start doing manual installations, you can branch out into various specialisms if you want to earn a larger salary. The more unique your specialism, the less competition and the higher your remuneration package.

Plumbers also study blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing systems and materials that may be required.

Being a plumber is rewarding, and most professionals remain in the field their entire careers. However, it requires exceptional personal attributes like problem-solving skills and mechanical aptitude. Most plumbers are successful due to the endless career opportunities in the field. Plumbing is more than repairing a toilet or handling sewage systems. The profession allows you to work in a wide variety of industries.

plumber roles

average salary of a plumber

The median earning of a plumber in Australia is $70,000 per year. The remuneration package ranges from $50,000 to $90,000 annually for entry-level and experienced plumbers. However, the remuneration can differ depending on qualifications and responsibilities. For instance, when you complete an apprenticeship in Australia and become a licenced plumber, your earnings start at $23,000 annually and increase to $55,000 annually. A qualified plumber takes home an average salary of $85,000 annually, while highly experienced plumbers earn up to $180,000 yearly.

how to increase your salary as a plumber

As a plumber, your remuneration package depends on your qualifications, industrial experience and specialisation. When you are a licenced plumber, you earn more compared to someone without a licence. Having educational qualifications also improves your remuneration. With vocational training or a college certification, your earnings increase significantly. The type of specialism also influences your remuneration package. For instance, if you work in residential houses, your wages are lower than those of a plumber working in industrial settings. Some business sectors also offer higher remuneration. If you specialise in repairs, your remuneration package may be lower than those in the construction or mining industry.

Want to know what you will earn as a plumber? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

plumber salary

types of plumbers

Plumbers specialise in various areas, including:

  • FIFO plumbers: as a fly in fly out plumber you are a professional who works in the plumbing industry and who travels to various locations to work on different projects.
  • commercial plumbers: you work in commercial settings, such as colleges, schools and manufacturing plants. Your responsibilities include repairing and maintaining tanks and pipes in a commercial setting. You also repair and install fittings and fixtures like toilets and faucets in companies and offices.
  • service and repair plumber: you work in commercial and residential settings. You do maintenance and repairs on plumbing systems, fix leaks, eliminate clogs and clean plumbing systems and fixtures.
  • residential plumber: you maintain and repair plumbing fixtures and pipes in a residential setting. You handle small-scale plumbing jobs and work with things like water systems, pipes and toilets.
  • sanitary plumber: your work in this area centres on sanitary systems. Most sanitary plumbers work in residential settings unblocking and clearing jams in home sanitary systems.
  • water supply plumber: you work on water tanks, bathroom tanks, overhead storage tanks and pipes. You install water supply systems and perform basic residential plumbing duties.
plumber jobs
plumber jobs

working as a plumber

Working as a plumber involves installing and modifying plumbing systems and other domestic appliances. It requires attentiveness to details and problem-solving skills. Let's explore the duties and work environments involved in a plumber role.


plumber education and skills

The educational qualifications of a plumber in Australia include:

  • certifications: most employers look for plumbers with a Certificate III in plumbing. You can pursue the course from a trusted training provider to gain in-depth theoretical knowledge of plumbing systems. Several technical universities offer part-time or full-time certificate courses in plumbing.
  • apprenticeships: after you complete Year 10, it is possible to commence your plumbing career through apprenticeships. The apprenticeships take four years to complete, and you train under a registered plumber. When you complete the apprenticeship and the Certificate III course, it is a prerequisite to have a driver's licence to work as a plumber in Australia. If you work on a construction site, you require a White Card. If you want to carry out more advanced or specialised work, consider further study stitch as Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (CPC40920).

plumber skills and competencies

Some of the skills and qualities of a plumber include:

  • physical skills: plumbing requires physical strength, dexterity and coordination. Plumbers should keep their arms and hands steady while manipulating a tool, plumbing fixture or a piece of pipe. It is common for plumbers to lift heavy items, climb ladders and stairs, and work in inclement temperatures. Therefore, being physically fit is important to perform the tasks quickly and efficiently.
  • communication skills: plumbers need to listen to their customers, understand the problem, and respond in an easy-to-understand and relaxed way. Communication skills help you communicate well when offering recommendations and suggestions for resolving various issues. Exceptional communication skills minimise misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • problem-solving skills: problem-solving skills are essential in plumbing. You evaluate a situation, assess the options quickly, and determine the proper course of action. Plumbers should also know how to make the most of their working time to maximise earning potential.
  • flexibility: as a plumber, flexibility is essential to keep up with clients. Sometimes, you receive a house call to fix plumbing issues at night due to emergencies. Being flexible helps you keep up with the work demands.

FAQs about working as a plumber

Here are the most asked questions about working as a plumber:

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