Steamfitters, Pipefitters, and Sprinkler System Installers

(NOC 7252)

in All Trades and Transportation

Steamfitters and pipefitters install piping, equipment, and controls for hot water, steam, process and chemical piping. Sprinkler fitters install and maintain permanent fire extinguishing systems. Steamfitters and pipefitters and sprinkler fitters work for maintenance departments of factories and plants and similar work sites, for pipefitting or sprinkler system contractors, or may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Good

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  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 110 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Outlook: good, a better than average chance of a qualified individual finding work.

Size of the occupation in Nova Scotia: moderate, with some opportunities through turnover.

Demand: expected to rise between 2021 and 2023 due to increased construction and utility activity that will create some new opportunities. Retirements are expected to create some openings.

Unemployment: There are a moderate number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupations.

Work hours: full-time hours, normally. Both permanent and temporary positions are common.

Hourly Pay

$23.02

Minimum

$38.00

Median

$47.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$21,898

Minimum

$58,509

Median

$115,408

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Steamfitters and pipefitters install piping, equipment, and controls for hot water, steam, process and chemical piping. Sprinkler fitters install and maintain permanent fire extinguishing systems. Steamfitters and pipefitters and sprinkler fitters work for maintenance departments of factories and plants and similar work sites, for pipefitting or sprinkler system contractors, or may be self-employed.

Job duties

Steamfitters and pipefitters:

  • 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 Fitters:

  • 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

  • journeyperson steamfitter-pipefitter
  • maintenance pipefitter
  • marine pipefitter
  • marine steamfitter
  • petroleum storage tank installer
  • pipefitter
  • sprinkler system installer
  • steamfitter
  • turbine pipefitter

Skills

  • Strength and stamina
  • Manual dexterity
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Precision
  • Ability to read and understand complex instructions
  • Ability to work at heights
  • Methodical approach
  • Ability to plan ahead
  • Ability to work with little direction or supervision
  • Ability to communicate with other trades
  • Ability to work as a team

Job requirements

  • High school or equivalent (usually).
  • Training through a 7,200-hour apprenticeship program with four apprenticeship levels: to become an apprentice you first need to have a job - enter an apprenticeship agreement either directly through an employer or after graduating from a college-level pre-apprenticeship program; learn on the job, mentored by a certified journeyperson who signs off on skills in a logbook.
  • Trade Qualifier option, 10,800 hours and other criteria.
  • Certification for steamfitter-pipefitters is compulsory Nova Scotia.
  • Certification for sprinkler fitters is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Write and score a minimum of 70% on the Red Seal exam for sprinkler fitters or steamfitter-pipefitter.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) allows for interprovincial mobility.
  • Petroleum storage tank installers must complete industry training and then apply for certification from Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change.

Other considerations

  • Setting: steamfitters-pipefitters work both indoors and outdoors at physically demanding tasks. Climbing and lifting or moving heavy items is often required.
  • Setting: sprinkler fitters work mostly indoors, often in temporarily heated or unheated spaces. They may need to lift heavy objects.
  • Steamfitter-pipefitters and sprinkler fitters work 40 hours a week with overtime required to meet construction deadlines.
  • Travel to work sites is common.
  • Steamfitters-pipefitters may need to stand for long periods. There is some risk of injury when working with power tools and heavy equipment.
  • Sprinkler fitters are exposed to some risk of injury when working on construction and maintenance sites.
  • Experienced steamfitter-pipefitters may advance to supervisory positions like foreman, sub-contractor, contractor and construction superintendent.
  • Experienced sprinkler fitters may advance to supervisory positions or start their own business.
  • Apprentices usually earn a percentage of the journeyperson (fully qualified) rate. This percentage increases as each level of the apprenticeship program is completed.
  • Everyone has fair access to participate and succeed in the apprenticeship system. Everyone who develops the necessary skills and abilities should be able to succeed in the trades and trade qualification system. Work environments in the province support women and equity-seeking communities.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,165

employed in 2016

94.0%

employed full-time

2.1%

self employed

2.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
97.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.1

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?

34.6%

Cape Breton

$65,204 median annual income
32.5%

Halifax

$57,125 median annual income
18.4%

North Shore

$60,392 median annual income
9.8%

Annapolis Valley

$55,064 median annual income
4.7%

Southern

$53,114 median annual income

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

47.9%

Construction

23.6%

Manufacturing

9.1%

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

7.3%

Other services (except public administration)

4.2%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

23.0%

25-34

21.0%

35-44

20.0%

45-54

16.0%

55-64

12.0%

15-24

9.0%

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

54.7%

Trade Certification

$58,442 median annual income
29.1%

College Diploma

$63,296 median annual income
10.3%

High school

$39,861 median annual income
2.6%

Less than high school

N/A
2.1%

Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trade Certification

$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

Apprenticeship - Sprinkler Fitter

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship is a structured training program leading to certification in the skilled trades. An apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training and experience with theoretical technical training. You find a job in your trade first and then enter into an apprenticeship agreement. You work 7,200 hours mentored by a certified journeyperson and gain the required skills and knowledge. You also take some technical courses. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency administers the trades training and certification system. A sprinkler fitter apprenticeship prepares apprentices to design, install and test automatic fire and exposure protection systems.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Apprenticeship - Steamfitter-Pipefitter

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship is a structured training program leading to certification in the skilled trades. An apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training and experience with theoretical technical training. You find a job in your trade first and then enter into an apprenticeship agreement. You work 7,200 hours mentored by a certified journeyperson and gain the required skills and knowledge. You also take some technical courses. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency administers the trades training and certification system. A steamfitter-pipefitter apprenticeship prepares apprentices to design, install and test industrial and commercial piping systems.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Pipefitter and Sprinkler Fitter - Pre-apprenticeship College Program

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

Various, NS

UA 56 Pipe Trades Career College Inc.

Dartmouth, NS

Trade Qualifier

Trades Program

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency also offers a path to trades certification outside of a formal apprenticeship agreement with a qualified journeyperson. This option includes a set amount of required hours of related experience in the trade, passing a certification exam, and other criteria. Contact the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency for more details.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Sprinkler Fitter

Compulsory Certification (Mandatory): This is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Individuals must hold a Certification of Qualification, be a registered apprentice, or hold a temporary work permit to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Steamfitter/Pipefitter

Compulsory Certification (Mandatory): This is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Individuals must hold a Certification of Qualification, be a registered apprentice, or hold a temporary work permit to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Petroleum Storage Tank Installer

Installer Certificate: This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. A certificate shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS