Mastering Mechanical Piping Systems: Pipefitting Degree

Pipes are an essential part of city infrastructure and vital for supplying resources like water and gas to to buildings. A lot of careful planning is required to design and install these pipes as serious issues can arise if it is not done properly. If you are interested in the type of career education that will enable you to fulfill this vital role, then a pipefitting degree is a great place to start. This type of major is typically available at either certificate or associate’s degree levels and can help students to prepare for a career as a pipefitter.

Pipefitting Degree Information

Pipefitting Certificate

The Pipefitting Certificate can be completed in about nine months and is geared towards students who are interested in entry-level positions in the pipefitting industry. Course topics for this certificate may include Welding Fundamentals, Basic Pipefitting Skills, Piping Standards and Materials, Basic Blueprint Reading for Pipefitters as well as Pipe Fabrication and Installation.

Pipefitting Associate in Applied Science Degree

The Pipefitting Associate in Applied Science Degree is a two year program that is designed to help students enter the workforce quickly. This degree usually includes courses such as Intermediate Blueprint Reading for Pipefitters, Advanced Pipefitting Standards, Specifications, and Installation, Testing and Inspection Systems and Material Handling. In addition, students can also expect courses such as Composition and Rhetoric, College Math for Liberal Arts, and more.

Licensing

In order to work as a pipefitter in most of the states in North America, you are required to be licensed. While the requirements differ depending on the state in which you want to work, one of the requirements tends to be an apprenticeship that can be between four and five years. When part of a union, pipefitters are generally required to pass an apprenticeship test if they want to become a licensed journeyman. A special license is also required in many states in order to work on gas lines, so be sure to check with the licensing board of your state for the most up to date information.

Pipefitting Degree FAQs

Can I Study Pipefitting Online?

Since pipefitting is an occupation that requires you to have plenty of hands-training, it is not possible to study everything online. There are online courses available that can teach you the science and math skills that are essential to the job, but most students complete their studies at a trade school that also has an apprenticeship program to provide them with the needed experience.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Pipefitting?

In general, the only requirements to study pipefitting is that you are at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students are generally also required to pass a basic math test and must know how to use computers, especially if planning on studying online. If an apprenticeship program is part of the process, then students must be able to pass substance abuse screening.

Accuracy and an eye for detail are essential if you want to become a pipefitter as your job may involve reading and being able to understand a lot of blueprints. Numeracy skills as just as vital as you’ll be dealing with accurate measurements, mathematical calculations and more on a regular basis. Being able to operate and be comfortable around industry tools is essential as is having great personal and customer service skills. Critical thinking skills as well as time management are obviously important, but you should also have good troubleshooting skills and be able to perform quality control analysis to ensure optimal performance. Pipefitting is a career path that is suitable for people who are dependable, has a willingness to take on responsibilities, are able to deal with stress and who can work independently as well as part of a team.

What Type of Duties Might I Have When Working As A Pipefitter?

The installation and maintenance of pipes are the primary responsibilities of pipefitters. In general, these pipes tend to carry water, chemicals and acids or gasses. Pipefitters typically work in commercial, manufacturing and industrial locations, in contrast to plumbers who deal more with residential issues. As a pipefitter you might be responsible for determining what types of materials are required for a job as well as performing the necessary tests to determine that the pipe system is functioning as expected. Before measuring, cutting, welding or threading pipes, pipefitters must also familiarize themselves with the blueprints or building codes for the job. Pipefitters often also specialize in certain fields, such as gasfitters who deal with natural gas, sprinklerfitters who deal with the installation and repairs of fire sprinkler systems, and steam fitterswho deal with high pressure steam systems.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Working As A Pipefitter?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median annual wage for pipefitters, steamfitters and plumbers was about $51,450 in 2016. While the lowest 10 percent of workers in this industry earned as little as $30,430, this climbed up to more than $90,530 for the highest 10 percent. Wages tend to vary depending on the area where you are based as well as whatever contracts are in place between contractors and local unions. Most pipefitters in North America tend to be members of United Association (UA), which is a union of plumbers, fitters, welders, and service techs.

What Type of Potential Career Opportunities Might I Have After Studying Pipefitting?

Pipefitting is a very specialized job, but also something that is required in virtually every industry that makes use of piping systems. These can include the oil and gas industry, nuclear energy, power generation, as well as the construction industry, boilermaking and shipbuilding. This means that employment options for this occupation exists everywhere from hospitals and construction firms to gas plants, chemical plants, building companies and many others.

What Are The Other Advantages To Obtaining A Pipefitting Degree?

If you enjoy working with your hands instead of sitting behind an office desk all day, then a career in the skilled trades can be personally as well as financially rewarding. What a faster than average job outlook between now and 2024, it also means that pipefitting is a trade that is very much in demand. With a need for skilled pipefitters, it can potentially be easier to find employment after completing your studies compared to other occupations. It is also the type of occupation that not only pays decent salaries, but also enables you to earn more by working overtime if you wish.

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