In case you didn’t know, a career in plumbing is one of the most lucrative careers out there. It’s a field where you can earn good cash while enhancing your practical and social skills.
If you’re thinking of making plumbing your career, you’ve probably asked yourself the question, “how much do plumbers make?”
First off, plumbers are certainly among the highest-paid contractors, so if you’re thinking of making a career in a trade, specifically as a plumber, you’re off to a good start.
But to answer your question more specifically, the compensation of a plumber varies from country to country, from state to state, and lastly, according to one’s competency and training.
Here’s all the information you need to know about how much plumbers make in 2022.
How much do plumbers make in the U.S.?
Estimates for plumber salaries in the U.S. vary from about $40k-75k per year, with the average being about $55k.
What is the average salary of plumbers?
Plumbers typically charge per hour. Their hourly rate usually ranges from $28 to $29 per hour.
This rate can change depending on numerous factors. As mentioned earlier, this number can vary greatly.
In short, a plumber’s salary is determined by how heavily certain factors affect their average compensation or work opportunities.
Factors that affect plumbers’ salary
Two major factors determine a plumber’s salary.
First is the location in which the plumber resides. The second is the years of experience and mastery of the plumber.
Let’s start with location. States have different salaries or pay rates for plumbers. When there is a shortage of plumbers, they are then in demand, leading to higher compensation.
When there are too many plumbers in an area, there is a higher chance that a plumber might have to lower service rates to stand out from the crowd.
Depending on the town type, a rural area could have a lower rate, whereas you can expect a much higher rate in an urban town.
An example is Vermont, which is one of the highest-paying states for plumbers. In some parts of Vermont, a skilled plumber can advertise their services for $91 per hour.
On the other hand, Arkansas is a low-paying area, with the average salary being just $39,600.
Plumber salaries are based on experience
Of course, just like any other job, years of experience and mastery play a big part in one’s compensation. The more knowledge and experience a plumber has, the higher their rate.
While the time spent in the field is crucial, skill and expertise must also match the long years of experience.
To help you better understand, here are the types and levels of plumbers you will hear about in the industry:
- Entry-level or apprentice plumber – $17.60/hr or $36,700/yr
This means a startup plumber or a plumber who is just beginning their career. Entry-level plumbers are still under direct supervision and typically assist in assembling, installing, and repairing.
- Journey-level plumber or Journeyman plumber – $22.40/hr or $46,600/yr
A journeyman plumber is typically the one that directly supervises the entry-level plumber. This is typically an experienced plumber. A journeyman plumber can install, repair, or renovate plumbing with the supervision of a master plumber.
- Licensed Plumber – $28.80/hr or $59,900/yr
A licensed plumber has successfully obtained the proper plumbing license or permit to perform plumbing work within the state. Licensed plumbers can choose the materials they need and provide clients with the estimated expenses.
- Commercial plumber – $37.40/hr or $77,900/yr
Commercial plumbers work for commercial establishments such as universities, malls, hospitals, manufacturing plants, etc. Compared to typical residential plumbers, commercial plumbers work on complex plumbing systems. They may deal with multiple-story establishments, which require the ability to understand building plans.
- Master plumber – $48.00/hr or $99,900/yr
A master plumber is the highest level you can achieve in the plumbing business. Attaining this level means that you are free to operate your own business as a plumber in many states. You can employ entry-level and journey-level plumbers to work for your business as well.
Highest paying cities for plumbers in the U.S.
The rate of pay for plumbers differs depending on the city they are working in. There are many high and low paying cities in the U.S. Here is a list of the highest-paying cities for plumbers in the U.S.:
Estimated hourly rate:
- San Diego, CA – $30.50
- Houston, TX – $29.00
- Phoenix, AZ – $29.00
- Union, NJ – $28.30
- Colorado Springs, CO – $28.20
- Tampa, FL – $28.20
- Las Vegas, NV – $28.00
- Orlando, FL – $27.70
- San Antonio, TX – $27.70
Highest paying states for plumbers, U.S.
When it comes to U.S. states, they also vary greatly. As mentioned before, local demand for work and the cost of living are two of the most heavily influential factors for salary compensation in different states.
Here is a list of the highest paying states for plumbers in the U.S.:
Estimated annual salary
- Vermont – $92,500
- Hawaii – $87,500
- Oregon – $82,900
- Washington – $80,000
- Massachusetts – $77,500
- Alaska – $76,200
How to earn more as a plumber?
If you want to earn more as a plumber, there are ways to do so.
First, it’s essential to get licensed and certified as a plumber. This boosts your level as a plumber, which merits you a higher compensation rate.
There are specific requirements you need to comply with to get licensed. For example, you must have two years of work experience under a licensed master plumber.
There is an alternative if you don’t have sufficient experience. You can complete a board-approved apprenticeship training program. After this, you are now ready to take your journeyman licensing exam.
Once you’ve finished, the next step is to join your local union affiliated with the United Association, which will open doors for more opportunities as a plumber. Local unions have different projects only they have access to, which can benefit you greatly.
Are plumbers in demand?
Yes. Plumbers are indeed in demand. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the shortage of plumbers reaches 55%.
Not only are they currently in demand, but job growth is also looking bright for the next decade.
What type of plumber makes the most money?
According to the department of labor, the plumbers that make the most money are those that are part of a local union.
Master plumbers also make a good amount, depending on what type of work they do.
Plumbers who own their own plumbing business often earn more than those employed by companies or self-employed.
How can a plumber make 100k?
To make 100k as a plumber, one way is to be a self-employed plumber in a city where there are enough clients for you.
Once you grow your clientele, you can earn an average of 100k per year.
Another option is to start your own plumbing business. To operate your own business, you must first be a master plumber.
Master plumbers who own their own businesses can earn about $200k a year with the right entrepreneurial mindset.
Do plumbers make more money than pipefitters?
No. Pipefitters make a bit more than a plumber. Their average salary is $10-$20k higher than compared with a plumber.
How does a plumber’s salary compare with other similar trades?
When it comes to other trades, plumbers make one of the highest salaries. A college degree is not needed in the plumbing industry. But once you complete a 4-year apprenticeship and get your license, experience is all you will need. You could earn $50-60k a year or more.
Making plumbing a career is possible if you’re committed. It takes dedication, a good mindset, and hard work to be a plumber and earn a competitive salary. The job is not easy, and plumbers are faced with many challenges.However, if you are up for the challenge, this can be a lucrative and rewarding career path. To keep up with the latest news about plumbing and other related fields, sign up for the Construction Fanatics newsletter.