Plumbers install, repair and maintain pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and waste water disposal in residential, commercial and industrial building.
People in this occupation:
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 2,880
Plumbers perform some or all of the following duties:
Plumbers typically work 40 hours per week. Some plumbers may also work on an on-call basis and respond to plumbing emergencies at all hours. Plumbers who do industrial maintenance at large facilities may do shift work.
The working environment for plumbers can be cramped, dirty and noisy, depending on the job. Plumbers must be physically fit since they are required to carry heavy pipe and stand for much of the day.
Heavy lifting and working in cramped spaces can lead to muscle and joint pain. Continued use of some tools may lead to repetitive stress injuries, such as tendonitis and bursitis.
Source: 2016 Census
Completion of secondary school is typically required. Other requirements may include:
Plumbers are eligible for Interprovincial Standard Endorsement (Red Seal) qualification through the Industry Training Authority, which allows holders to work in any province or territory. Once plumbers pass the final examination of their accredited training program, they will achieve certification and will automatically receive Red Seal qualification.
Plumbers with 8,430 hours of documented, directly related work experience can challenge the Interprovincial Red Seal examination. For more information, please see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.
Plumbers who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the Industry Training Authority of BC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Over the last few years low interest rates and a growing economy have resulted in a rapid increase in construction activity in B.C. Residential construction and renovations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, southern Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions continue to be a source of plumbing work.
Commercial, institutional and industrial construction will also continue to be an important job supply for plumbers.
Technological improvements and more efficient methods are increasing the productivity of plumbers. Improved output of workers will affect the number of new jobs created. For example, if construction activity increases in the future, there may not be an equal increase in the number of plumbing jobs.
Most workers begin by working as apprentice plumbers. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, workers receive their journeymen papers and are then certified plumbers.
Those who have completed their apprenticeships typically start out working for a larger plumbing contractor/company. Experience plumbers may be promoted to a supervisory position.
More experienced plumbers may choose to work as independent contractors and start their own plumbing companies. With additional education some plumbers may become certified plumbing inspectors.