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Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System Installers

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NOC:7252
Occupation:Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System Installers
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Steamfitters and pipefitters lay out, assemble, fabricate, maintain, troubleshoot and repair piping systems carrying water, steam, chemicals and fuel in heating, cooling, lubricating and other process piping systems. Sprinkler system installers fabricate, install, test, maintain and repair water, foam, carbon dioxide and dry chemical sprinkler systems in buildings for fire protection purposes. Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers are employed in maintenance departments of factories, plants and similar establishments, and by pipefitting and sprinkler system contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties:
Steamfitters and pipefitters perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Read and interpret drawings, blueprints and specifications to determine layout requirements.
  • Cut openings for pipe in walls, floors and ceilings using hand or power tools or machines.
  • Select type and size of pipe required.
  • Measure, cut, thread and bend pipe to required shape using hand and power tools.
  • Weld, braze, cement, solder and thread joints to join pipes and fabricate sections of piping system.
  • Install supports, valves, piping and control systems.
  • Test system for leaks using testing equipment.
  • Clean and maintain pipe units and fittings and flush system.
  • Remove and replace worn components and reactivate system.
  • May prepare cost estimates for clients.
Sprinkler system installers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Read and interpret drawings, specifications and fire codes to determine layout requirements.
  • Install clamps, brackets and hangers to support piping system and sprinkler and fire protection equipment, using hand and power tools.
  • Select, measure, cut, ream and thread pipe, install sprinkler heads and mount prepared pipe in supports.
  • Join pipes and piping sections using soldering and welding equipment.
  • Connect piping system to water mains, supply tanks, pumps, compressors and control equipment.
  • Installs valves, alarms and associated equipment.
  • Test system for leaks using air or liquid pressure equipment.
  • Service and repair sprinkler system.
  • May prepare cost estimates for clients.
Sample job titles:
  • journeyman/woman steamfitter-pipefitter
  • maintenance pipefitter
  • marine pipefitter
  • marine steamfitter
  • petroleum storage tank installer
  • pipefitter
  • sprinkler system installer
  • steamfitter
  • turbine pipefitter
Skills:

This work requires a methodical approach, a mechanical aptitude, and an ability to plan ahead. You must be agile, coordinated, and capable of working in cramped and awkward conditions. Patience and the ability to follow instructions are important. You should also be able to cooperate and work well with others on large projects.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a four- to five-year apprenticeship program or a combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in steamfitting, pipefitting or sprinkler system installation is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Steamfitter-pipefitter trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Nova Scotia.
  • Sprinkler system installer trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified steamfitters-pipefitters and sprinkler system installers upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.
Other considerations:

The wage rate for apprentices is usually a percentage of the journeyperson rate, increasing upon completion of each stage of the apprenticeship program. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System Installers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 28% of Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System Installers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $71,931. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System Installers820Moderate growth55Moderate
Minimum: $14.50
Median: $32.00
Maximum: $44.88
Minimum: $21,898
Median: $58,509
Maximum: $115,408
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System InstallersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time95%89%
Percent self-employed36%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentSteamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System InstallersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern5%x12%$30,581
Northern18%$56,95816%$33,660
Cape Breton35%$55,37613%$32,974
Halifax33%$51,22147%$41,209
Annapolis Valley10%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeSteamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System InstallersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
15-2413%x
25-3430%13%
35-4421%33%
45-5415%34%
55-6414%19%
65+8%x
Median Age4247
GenderSteamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System InstallersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Female2%5%
Male98%95%
EducationSteamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System InstallersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school2.6%$15,03218.2%$25,753
High school9.3%$34,44725.5%$28,089
Trades certificate55.5%$47,41229.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma29.5%$45,94022.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaxx1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degree2.2%x2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx0.2%$41,705
Master's degreexx0.3%x
Doctoratexx0.0%$36,029
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.0%$3,714
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Petroleum Storage Tank Installer
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Environment
PO Box 442
Halifax, NS B3J 2P8
(902) 424-3600
(902) 424-0503
Sprinkler System Installer
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717
apprenticeship@novascotia.ca
Steamfitter/Pipefitter
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717
apprenticeship@novascotia.ca
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
10 Ragged Lake Blvd. Unit 1
Halifax, NS B3S 1C2
Tel: (902) 832-4761
Fax: (902) 832-4763
info@nscsc.ca
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Pipefitting/pipefitter and sprinkler fitter
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to design, install, and test industrial and commercial piping systems and automatic fire and exposure protection systems. These programs include courses in water systems, steam systems, heating and cooling systems, lubricating systems, piping materials, installation tools operation and maintenance, valve installation and repair, technical mathematics, blueprint interpretation, and applicable codes and standards.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
UA 56 Pipe Trades Career College Inc.
40 Neptune Crescent
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4R8
(902) 442-0120
admin@local56.ca
Program Name:Plumbing technology/plumber
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to practice as licensed plumbers by applying technical knowledge and skills to lay out, assemble, install, and maintain piping fixtures and systems for steam, natural gas, oil, hot water, heating, cooling, drainage, lubricating, in home and business environments. These programs include courses in source determination, water distribution, waster removal, pressure adjustment, basic physics, technical mathematics, blueprint reading, pipe installation, pumps, welding and soldering, plumbing inspection, and applicable codes and standards.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Additional resources:

Work Occupation Video(s)

Pipefitter