How To Become A Pipefitter & Other Key Details

Pipefitters are the plumbers of the industrial and commercial world, dealing with far more complex problems and much higher pressures than their residential counterparts. This is one of the reasons why they’re often in higher demand, because there are fewer pipefitters and each one has to have a different level of knowledge, experience and expertise than residential plumbers. But if you’re wondering how to become a pipefitter and where to find pipefitter jobs, you’ll find everything you need to know right here.

How To Become A Pipefitter

how to become a pipefitter

To become a pipefitter, it’s almost always required to have either a high school diploma or equivalent. Many pipefitters then go on to either an apprenticeship program or trade school to learn how to handle the process. For more advanced programs, you can also take math and science coursework to receive an associate’s degree, providing a good stepping-stone to further education in the future, should you so choose.

Some states will also require a background check, while others do not. For background checks, some states will require the check before you start trade school, while others require a background check before licensing you for work. This is a fairly thorough background check, so make sure you are able to pass one before you start your training.

However, even after finishing your educational process and having your background check completed, you’re not ready to be licensed just yet. You’ll need to gain some on-the-job experience before you can apply for your state license, in many situations. This process typically takes between two and five years, but is well worth it in the end.

You may also need to look at other certifications, both related to your pipefitter work as well as more general certifications. These can include ASME 31.1, ICWQ, BPAT, JLPS, WBFP, OSHA 30 and STAR Steamfitting-Pipefitting Mastery Certification.1 These are good certifications to pursue while you’re working on adding work experience and before you get your license, providing you with plenty of knowledge and the paperwork to back up what you’ve learned.

Pipefitter Jobs And Where To Find Them

Pipefitters put together systems that take a lot of stress, so they can be found in a wide range of industries. In some of these industries, you’ll just put together the initial setup and assembly, while in others, you may have frequent reoccurring work that keeps you working at a single large location with a single employer. 

Depending on the type of work you want to do, you’ll be able to find work that handles specific types of pipefitting. From travel jobs that let you see more of the world while being paid to do so, to stationary industrial and commercial jobs at specific facilities, to projects that require you to work quickly during machine shutdown periods, you’ll find something that fits your personality and work style.

Pipefitter Jobs With Per Diem

Assembly and construction jobs often provide a per diem, allowing you to travel extensively and see different parts of the region or country. Referring to the Latin term for daily, per diem refers to reimbursement for daily expenses related to travel, such as lodging and meals, as well as some other incidental expenses you might have during travel. This means that all of your basic needs are being met in addition to your paycheck, lowering your overall expenses significantly.

Industrial & Commercial Pipefitters

Industrial and commercial labor pipefitters can enjoy the consistency and predictability of regularly managing the systems in a single or a small number of facilities. To provide sufficient work to keep a pipefitter employed full-time, these facilities are usually fairly large. This allows you to enjoy predictable income at a regular location and schedule, which can be a benefit for pipefitters with families.

Shutdown Jobs For Pipefitters

Shutdown jobs for pipefitters are a great option if you like to challenge yourself or only work for short periods, as all work must be handled while machinery in a facility is shut down. Because this work must be completed quickly, it often pays a higher amount for pipefitters who can complete the work as quickly as possible, often to the point of planning out exactly how you’ll lay out your tools before you begin.

Where To Find Them

There are a few different places where you can look to find pipefitter jobs, but there are two primary sources where we’ll focus. Of course, if you’re a union member, have a network of other contractors and similar resources, you can tap these resources when you’re looking for a new pipefitter job.

With the digital transformation of our world, more people are finding work online. LinkedIn, Roadtechs, Craigslist and similar websites offer a wide range of advertisements for pipefitter jobs. However, that requires looking at or monitoring several websites to find when new jobs come onto the market, and there’s no telling how long the hiring process may be, which can be stressful when you’re trying to find something new fast.

Another option to consider is a staffing company. Because staffing companies have projects coming in all the time, it’s much easier to have someone else do the monitoring and looking for you, so that you can focus on other areas such as earning more certifications. Instead of having to pound the pavement and fill out tons of applications, you can do one interview and application, then let someone else do the work for you.

In Conclusion

Pipefitter jobs are a great option to consider for your future, especially if you’re partnered with an outstanding staffing service that is focused on specialty industrial staffing. Elite Force can help you find the perfect pipefitter job for your personality, needs and preferences, so that you move into a job that you really like instead of one that just pays your bills. Why not take a few minutes to fill out an online application and see what we can do for your pipefitting career?


  1. Indeed Editorial Team, “What Is a Pipefitter? Duties, Skills and Qualifications,” Indeed, April 29, 2021,
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