Plumbers

(NOC 7251)

in All Trades and Transportation

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and wastewater disposal in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. They work for maintenance departments of factories, plants, and similar businesses, by plumbing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 45 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

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 slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Plumbers most commonly work full-time hours. 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 54% of Plumbers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $49,611. 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)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$22.00

Median

$30.22

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,925

Minimum

$44,190

Median

$80,400

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and wastewater disposal in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. They work for maintenance departments of factories, plants, and similar businesses, by plumbing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Plumbers:

  • Read blueprints, drawings, and specifications to determine layout of plumbing system, water supply network and waste and drainage systems.
  • Install, repair, and maintain domestic, commercial, or industrial plumbing fixtures and systems.
  • Locate and mark positions for pipe connections, passage holes and fixtures in walls and floors.
  • Cut opening in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings.
  • Measure, cut, bend and thread pipes using hand and power tools or machines.
  • Join pipes using couplings, clamps, screws, bolts, cement, or soldering, brazing and welding equipment.
  • Test pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges.
  • May prepare cost estimates.

Sample job titles

  • apprentice plumber
  • maintenance and repair plumber
  • plumber
  • plumber - pipefitting
  • plumber apprentice
  • plumbing installer
  • plumbing mechanic
  • residential construction plumber

Skills

This work requires a methodical approach, 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

  • High school is usually required.
  • 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 plumbing is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified plumbers 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.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,160

employed in 2016

89.2%

employed full-time

18.1%

self employed

1.7%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
98.3%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
39.8

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

41.2%

Halifax

18.0%

North Shore

17.2%

Annapolis Valley

12.0%

Southern

11.6%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

83.2%

Construction

4.6%

Public administration

4.6%

Educational services

1.5%

Real estate and rental and leasing

1.0%

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

What is the age of Employment?

26.0%

25-34

22.0%

35-44

19.0%

45-54

17.0%

55-64

11.0%

15-24

5.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

50.9%

Apprenticeship

$47,412 median annual income
37.5%

College Diploma

$45,940 median annual income
7.3%

High school

$34,447 median annual income
2.2%

Less than high school

$15,032 median annual income
2.2%

Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Apprenticeship

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Pipefitter and Sprinkler Fitter

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to design, install, and test industrial and commercial piping systems and automatic fire and exposure protection systems. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

Halifax, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

Port Hawkesbury, NS

Apprenticeship Training

Halifax, NS

UA 56 Pipe Trades Career College Inc.

Dartmouth, NS

Plumber

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students 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. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

Middleton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

Springhill, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

Kentville, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

Halifax, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

Stellarton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

Sydney, NS

Apprenticeship Training

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Plumber

Compulsory Certification (Mandatory): This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. A valid Certification of Qualification, an apprentice ID, or a temporary work permit is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651

Contacts

Construction Association of Nova Scotia
Dartmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
BuildForce Canada
Ottawa, ON
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS