Pipe fitters install industrial pipework, valves and pumps in factories, commercial premises and large buildings like power stations.
Salary Range: £20,000 to £40,000
How to become a pipe fitter
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can do a college course, which may help you to get a trainee pipe fitter’s job. Courses include:
- Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
- Level 2 Certificate in Welding
- Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing and Heating
- Level 3 Diploma in Building Services Engineering
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can do an engineering pipe fitter or pipe welder advanced apprenticship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You might start as an general engineering operative or engineering craft worker, and learn and train on the job to become a pipe fitter.
- you’ll need an industry safety certificate like the Client Contractor National Safety Group (CCNSG) Safety Passport Scheme for many jobs
You can find out more about pipe fitting from Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Careers and the Building and Engineering Services Association.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of building and construction
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- design skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- planning how to do a job based on engineering designs
- making or modifying parts in a workshop
- assembling components ready for installation
- installing and joining pipework using bolting and welding methods
- carrying out planned maintenance checks
- finding and fixing faults
- responding to emergency call-outs
You could work in a factory or at a manufacturing plant.
Your working environment may be cramped.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career path and progression
You could be promoted to supervisor or become an engineering workshop manager. You could also work in welding inspection and quality control.
With further training, you may have opportunities to move into insulation work, or engineering design where you’ll draw up pipework installation plans.