Is a Pipe Layer a Good Job? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you want a job that is challenging, exciting and satisfying, have you considered becoming a pipe layer? With the world’s population growing, water and sewage systems are more important than ever before. Good pipe layers are always in demand, and the job can provide both a stable career and the chance to work outdoors. If you prefer to work with your hands and see projects through to completion, then becoming a pipe layer might be the perfect path for you.

A pipe layer job can be perfect for those who want to work hard and earn an honest living. It’s also a great job for anyone who isn’t afraid to get dirty and isn’t afraid to do some heavy lifting. In addition, pipe layers work in various weather conditions, so being physically fit and mentally resilient are prerequisites for success. Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or a seasoned laborer, you might just find that becoming a pipe layer is the kind of career move that you can be proud of.

If you’re looking for a job that can provide you with job security, financial stability, and a sense of pride in your work, you should consider becoming a pipe layer. This job requires a strong work ethic, a willingness to learn, and an attitude that never says no to a challenge. So if you’re up for a challenge and don’t mind working with your hands, perhaps it’s time to look into whether becoming a pipe layer is the right choice for you.

Job Description of a Pipe Layer

A pipe layer is a skilled laborer responsible for installing and maintaining underground piping and sewer systems. This job requires a lot of physical labor and often takes place in challenging work environments, such as construction sites and roadways. Some of the primary duties of a pipe layer include:

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints and schematics to determine the location and placement of pipes
  • Excavating and digging trenches using heavy machinery and hand tools
  • Fitting and assembling piping sections together using welding, gluing, or threading techniques
  • Installing and repairing septic and drainage systems
  • Connecting piping systems to underground water sources, sewage plants, and other infrastructure

In addition to these duties, pipe layers must also adhere to strict safety protocols, including the use of protective gear and proper traffic control measures. They must also be able to communicate effectively with other team members and follow direction from supervisors and project managers.

Salary and Benefits of a Pipe Layer

When considering a career as a pipe layer, it’s important to factor in the salary and benefits that come along with the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a pipe layer in the United States is $38,040. However, this can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and company.

While the salary may not seem high compared to other skilled labor jobs, there are several benefits that can make up for it. Some of these benefits include:

  • Health insurance
  • Dental and vision coverage
  • 401(k) or retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Overtime pay
  • Union membership

It’s important to note that not all companies may offer these benefits, but it’s worth considering when comparing job offers.

In addition to the benefits offered, pipe layers also have the opportunity for career advancement. With experience and training, pipe layers can move up to become pipe fitters or supervisors, which come with higher salaries and more responsibilities.

Position Median Annual Salary
Pipe Layer $38,040
Pipe Fitter $58,190
Supervisor $66,530

Overall, while the salary for a pipe layer may not be the highest, the benefits and opportunities for advancement make it a competitive and worthwhile job in the skilled labor industry.

Pros and Cons of Being a Pipe Layer

Pipe laying is an essential job in the construction industry. It involves laying out underground pipes for various purposes such as sewage, water supply, or gas supply. While it is a physically demanding job, it can also be quite rewarding. Below are the pros and cons of being a pipe layer:

  • Pros:
  • Job Security: The demand for pipe layers will always be present as new constructions are always happening.
  • Pay: Pipe laying is considered a skilled trade job, so the pay rate is above average.
  • Teamwork: Pipe laying requires a team, and it is an excellent opportunity to work with a group of skilled tradespeople.
  • Physical Fitness: Being a pipe layer involves a lot of physical activity, and this can help one maintain their fitness level.
  • Cons:
  • Challenging Work: Pipe laying can be physically demanding and challenging work, especially in adverse weather conditions.
  • Long Hours: The job is notorious for long working hours as deadlines are tight, and the job cannot be left undone.
  • Risk of Injury: The job involves working with heavy equipment and materials that could be hazardous, causing injuries if not handled correctly.
  • Tight Spaces: It can be cramped and tight working spaces while underground, making it uncomfortable to work.

Skills Required to be a Pipe Layer

While there are some cons to being a pipe layer, the job remains an exciting career path for those who enjoy working outdoors. Pipe laying is a skilled trade job that requires specific skills to be successful. Below are some skills required to be a pipe layer:

  • Knowledge of Materials: Knowing about different types of materials and their usage is crucial in pipe laying. It is vital to understand the specifics of each material and their properties to determine the best-suited material for a particular area.
  • Ability to Read Blueprints: A pipe layer must be able to read and interpret blueprints to know precisely where to lay the pipes. Being able to read blueprints allows them to be efficient with their work.
  • Math Skills: A pipe layer should have abilities in mathematics. The job requires accurate measurements, which is critical for the pipes to work correctly.
  • Problem-solving Skills: Pipe laying can come with some unexpected challenges. A successful pipe layer should be a good problem solver.
  • Communication Skills: Good communication skills are crucial for pipe layers. The job involves coordination between different team members. The ability to communicate efficiently helps ensure everyone works towards the same goal.

Salary and Job Outlook for Pipe Layers

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for pipe layers was $41,450 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent of earners made less than $27,200, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,620.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (May 2020) Job Growth (2019-2029)
Pipe Layers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters $54,160 4%

The job outlook for pipe layers is expected to grow by 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is on average, as fast as other occupations. The demand for new constructions will keep the industry growing, thus keeping job opportunities for pipe layers constant.

Education and Training Requirements for a Pipe Layer

Becoming a pipe layer requires specific education and training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job effectively. Here are the primary education and training requirements for a pipe layer:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum requirement to become a pipe layer. It is important to have basic skills in math, reading, and writing, as well as good physical fitness.
  • Vocational Training or Apprenticeship: Many pipe laying positions require vocational training or apprenticeships. These programs typically offer hands-on training and classroom instruction covering topics like pipe installation, blueprints, and regulations. This training can take anywhere from six months to three years, depending on the program.
  • Industry Certifications: Industry certifications such as the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certification can help pipe layers stand out in the job market. These certifications demonstrate a mastery of specific skills and knowledge required for the job.

However, some employers may require additional education or experience, such as an associate degree in a construction-related field or previous work experience in construction.

Below is a table summarizing the typical education and training requirements for a pipe layer in the U.S:

Education Level Training Certification
High School Diploma or Equivalent Vocational Training or Apprenticeship Industry Certifications (optional)
Associate Degree (optional) On-the-job Training

Overall, pursuing education and training in pipe laying can open up career opportunities in the construction industry and provide job security. With the right combination of education, training, and experience, becoming a pipe layer can be a fulfilling and rewarding career path.

Tools and Equipment Used by a Pipe Layer

Being a pipe layer involves a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, which is why it is essential to have the proper tools and equipment. These tools not only help pipe layers work more efficiently but also keep them safe on the job site.

Must-Have Tools and Equipment for Pipe Layers

  • Shovels: Pipe layers require different types of shovels, including round point, square point, and trenching shovels, for various digging tasks.
  • Pipe Cutters: These tools come in different sizes and are used to cut pipes to the right length.
  • Tape Measures: Accurate measurements are crucial when laying pipes, which is why tape measures are a must-have tool for a pipe layer.
  • Levels: A level is used to ensure the pipes are installed at the right angle and slope.
  • Wrenches: Pipe layers use different types of wrenches, including adjustable wrenches, pipe wrenches, and basin wrenches, to fit and fasten pipes together.

Heavy Equipment Utilized by Pipe Layers

In addition to the basic tools, pipe layers also use heavy equipment for digging trenches, moving pipes, and preparing the job site. Some of the most commonly used equipment includes:

  • Excavators: These machines are used to dig trenches for pipes and move earth on a job site.
  • Bulldozers: Pipe layers use bulldozers to move dirt, rocks, and other materials to make way for the pipes.
  • Backhoes: These machines are useful for digging trenches and moving pipes around the site.

Protective Gear for Pipe Layers

Working in construction exposes pipe layers to various hazards, which can cause injury or even death. It is thus essential to have the right protective gear to prevent accidents. Some of the critical protective gear for a pipe layer includes:

  • Hard Hats: Pipe layers work in areas where objects can fall or fly, which is why they need to wear hard hats to protect their head from impact.
  • Safety Glasses: These protective glasses help to keep debris, dust, and other hazards out of the pipe layer’s eyes.
  • Steel-Toed Boots: These sturdy shoes protect the feet from heavy objects that can fall or roll onto them.
  • Gloves: Pipe layers wear gloves to protect their hands from cuts, scrapes, and abrasions resulting from rough materials and sharp tools.


Tool/Equipment Use
Shovels Digging trenches, moving earth
Pipe Cutters Cutting pipes to the right length
Tape Measures Accurate measurements for laying pipes
Levels Ensuring pipes are installed at the right angle and slope
Wrenches Fitting and fastening pipes together
Excavators Digging trenches, moving earth
Bulldozers Moving dirt, rocks, and other materials
Backhoes Digging trenches, moving pipes
Hard Hats Protecting head from impact
Safety Glasses Keeping debris, dust, and other hazards out of eyes
Steel-Toed Boots Protecting feet from heavy objects, falls, and roll
Gloves Protecting hands from cuts, scrapes, and abrasions

Tools and equipment are essential for pipe layers to complete their job safely and efficiently. With the right tools in hand, pipe layers can work with greater speed and confidence, ensuring the successful completion of any job.

Job Outlook and Demand for Pipe Layers

For those considering a career in pipe laying, it’s important to understand the job outlook and demand for this role. Here’s a closer look:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4% job growth rate for pipelayers between 2019 and 2029, which is about average compared to other occupations. This growth is expected to lead to the creation of roughly 1,500 new jobs for pipelayers.
  • One factor contributing to the demand for pipe layers is the aging infrastructure in the United States and the need for repairs and replacements.
  • Pipeline construction is also a growing industry, particularly in the oil and natural gas sectors. Pipelayers are needed to install and maintain these pipelines.

Overall, the demand for pipelayers is expected to remain steady. However, it’s important to note that the industry can be impacted by factors such as changes in government regulations and economic fluctuations.

To get a better understanding of the job outlook and demand for pipelayers, let’s take a look at some statistics:

Occupation Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-2029 Median Annual Wage, May 2019
Pipelayers 39,000 40,500 4% $38,170

As you can see, the number of employment opportunities for pipelayers is expected to increase slightly in the coming years. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this job can be physically demanding and requires outdoor work in a variety of weather conditions.

If you’re considering a career as a pipelayer, it’s important to research job opportunities in your area and determine if it’s the right fit for your skills and interests.

Job Opportunities and Growth Potential for Pipe Layers

When it comes to job opportunities, the field of pipe laying is a promising one. With the increasing need for infrastructure development and maintenance, pipe layers are in high demand. Moreover, the job growth rate for pipe layers is projected to be 14% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is higher than the average growth rate for all occupations.

  • As urbanization continues, more water and sewage systems will need to be installed and maintained, providing a steady demand for pipe layers.
  • The aging infrastructure in the United States also means that many existing systems need repair and replacement, leading to more job opportunities for pipe layers.
  • The rise of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power requires the installation of new pipelines and transmission lines, increasing the demand for pipe laying services.

In addition, pipe layers can expect growth potential in their career. With experience and additional training, they can advance to become supervisors or project managers. They can also specialize in certain types of pipe laying work, such as natural gas pipelines or water treatment facilities.

Overall, the job outlook for pipe layers is promising, with a steady demand for their services and opportunities for growth. Whether you are starting your career or looking for a new direction, pipe laying is a field worth considering.

Is a Pipe Layer a Good Job? FAQs

1. How much does a pipe layer make?

The average salary for a pipe layer is around $20 per hour, but it can vary based on location, type of project, and experience level.

2. What are the job duties of a pipe layer?

A pipe layer is responsible for installing and repairing underground pipes used for water supply, drainage, or sewer systems. Their duties may include excavation, laying pipes, sealing joints, and testing the system for leaks.

3. What qualifications do I need to become a pipe layer?

To become a pipe layer, you typically need a high school diploma or a GED. Some employers may also require vocational training or an apprenticeship. You should also have good physical strength and be comfortable working outdoors in various weather conditions.

4. Is there room for advancement as a pipe layer?

Yes, there is room for advancement as a pipe layer. You can become a lead pipe layer, project manager, or supervisor as you gain more experience and knowledge.

5. What are the potential risks involved in being a pipe layer?

Pipe layers face potential risks such as cave-ins, exposure to hazardous materials, and working with heavy machinery. However, proper safety measures, training, and equipment can help prevent accidents.

6. What is the employment outlook for pipe layers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pipe layers is expected to grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

7. What are the benefits of being a pipe layer?

Some benefits of being a pipe layer include being part of a skilled trade, the ability to work on various types of projects, opportunities for advancement, and the satisfaction of seeing a project come to life.

Closing Thoughts:

Thank you for reading this article on whether pipe laying is a good job. Being a pipe layer can be a rewarding career, with opportunities for growth and a decent salary. If you’re considering becoming a pipe layer, make sure you have the necessary qualifications and are aware of the potential risks. Don’t hesitate to explore this career path and visit our website again for more informative articles.

Search Here