What Type of Plumbers Make the Most Money: A Guide to High-Paying Plumbing Specializations

If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s that no one likes dealing with plumbing issues. Whether it’s a clogged drain or a busted pipe, plumbing problems can be a real headache. But for plumbers, those problems mean business. And for some types of plumbers, business is very, very good.

So, what types of plumbers make the most money? Well, for starters, plumbing contractors tend to make more than your average plumber. That’s because they’re not just fixing leaks and snaking drains—they’re overseeing entire projects, and that comes with a premium price tag.

Another type of plumber that can make serious bank is the industrial plumber. These guys (and gals!) are the ones who work on large-scale projects like power plants, oil rigs, and manufacturing facilities. The stakes are high, so the pay is too. It’s not uncommon for an industrial plumber to make six figures or more.

Top-Paying Plumbing Specializations

Choosing a career in plumbing can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. Among maintenance and repair industries, plumbers are one of the highest-paid professionals. Plumbing specialization is a crucial aspect when it comes to determining salary. Some plumbing jobs pay significantly better than others, depending on the level of technical, managerial, and leadership skills required in a specific field. If you are a plumbing enthusiast looking for a specialization that guarantees high earning potential, consider the following:

  • Commercial Plumbing: Commercial plumbers work in large buildings, including hospitals, schools, hotels, and office complexes. This specialization pays the highest, requires more expertise and training than other plumbing jobs, and also requires a master plumber’s license. Commercial plumbers are expected to handle large projects, including installation and maintenance of plumbing systems and pipes in large buildings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial plumbers earn an average of $28 per hour or $58,000 annually.
  • Industrial Plumbing: Industrial plumbers work in factories and other industrial settings. Their primary role is to install, maintain, and repair plumbing systems in large machines and areas. This job requires a lot of physical work in challenging environments, including outdoor and confined spaces. The average salary for industrial plumbers is around $50,000 per year.
  • Residential Plumbing: This is the most common specialization of plumbing. Residential plumbers work in households, and their duties include installing and maintaining plumbing systems, pipes, and fixtures. This job might require plumbing background knowledge or a formal apprenticeship. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for residential plumbers in the US is $50,000 per year.

Rarest Plumbing Jobs with High Earning Potential

While many plumbing jobs are considered traditional and routine, there are some unique and rare plumbing jobs that have high earning potential due to their specialized nature. Here are some of the rarest plumbing jobs with high earning potential:

  • Fire Sprinkler System Installer: Fire sprinkler system installers are responsible for the installation and maintenance of automatic fire sprinkler systems in buildings. They will need to be well-versed in building codes and regulations, have strong technical skills for designing and installing these systems, and be able to perform maintenance on them over time. The earning potential for a fire sprinkler system installer depends on their level of experience, with those who have been in the business for several years earning upwards of six figures.
  • Oil Rig Plumber: Oil rig plumbers work on offshore oil rigs and are responsible for maintaining and repairing the plumbing systems on the rig. These individuals are often required to work in harsh and dangerous environments, and their skills need to be top-notch to keep the plumbing systems running safely and efficiently. Due to the complexity and hazardous nature of the work, oil rig plumbers can earn well over six figures per year.
  • Desalination Plant Plumber: Desalination plant plumbers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the plumbing systems in desalination plants. They need to have a strong understanding of water treatment systems and be able to troubleshoot and repair any issues that arise. Due to the specialized knowledge required for this job, desalination plant plumbers can earn between $60,000 and $100,000 per year.

Each of these rare plumbing jobs requires specific skill sets and knowledge that are not commonly found in most plumbing roles. As a result, those who choose to specialize in these areas can reap the rewards of high earning potential.

Highest-Paid Plumbers by Industry

Plumbing has proven to be a profitable career path, and the earning potential depends on the industry the plumber is working in. Here are the industries where plumbers earn the most.

  • Utilities Industry: Plumbers who work in the utilities industry are the highest-paid with an average salary of $73,680 per year. They provide services for water, gas, and other utilities companies. These plumbers must have expertise in installing and repairing large-scale pipelines and complex systems. The job requires extensive knowledge of hydraulic systems, accurate measurement skills, and proficiency in reading blueprints.
  • Government: Plumbers working in the government sector earn an average of $68,000 per year. Jobs in this field may include working in public works or municipal water departments. Plumbers in this industry are highly skilled in handling complex plumbing installations and working on public water systems. They must also be knowledgeable in local codes and building permits.
  • Engineering and Construction: Plumbers who specialize in engineering and construction can earn up to $65,000 per year. These plumbers must have an extensive knowledge of various plumbing systems and pipe installation techniques. They work closely with architects and engineers throughout the construction process to provide drainage and water supply systems for new buildings. Their work may also include supervision of plumbing projects, troubleshooting plumbing-related issues, and ensuring compliance with local building codes.

Plumber’s Wages: Decoding the Table

The table below provides more detailed information about the highest-paid plumbers by industry and their average salaries.

Industry Average Salary
Utilities $73,680
Government $68,000
Engineering and Construction $65,000
Manufacturing $63,430
Waste Treatment and Disposal $60,810
Building Equipment Contractors $57,730

While the earning potential as a plumber can vary greatly depending on the industry they work in, the profession as a whole remains a lucrative career choice.

Most Lucrative Cities for Plumbers

When it comes to being a plumber, location can play a big role in earning potential. Here are the top cities in the United States where plumbers can make the most money:

  • New York City, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, IL

While these cities may offer the highest earning potential for plumbers, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of living in each area. For example, while San Francisco may offer high wages, the cost of living is also significantly higher compared to other areas.

Here is a breakdown of the average plumber’s salary in each of these top cities:

City Average Salary
New York City, NY $77,560
San Francisco, CA $75,170
Washington, DC $74,880
Chicago, IL $68,870

Keep in mind that salaries can vary based on experience, level of expertise, and the specific industry that a plumber is working in. However, these cities have consistently ranked as the top-paying locations for plumbers in the United States.

Plumbing Jobs that Offer the Best Benefits

When it comes to plumbing jobs, some career paths offer better benefits than others. Here are the top five plumbing jobs that offer the best benefits:

  • Master Plumber: A master plumber is the highest level of plumber, and with that comes the best benefits. As a master plumber, you can work on your own, start your own business, or work for a large plumbing company. The average salary for a master plumber is $72,000 per year, but some earn well over $100,000 with experience and expertise.
  • Plumbing Engineer: A plumbing engineer is responsible for designing and installing plumbing systems for large buildings and projects. This can include everything from designing piping systems to creating blueprints. Plumbing engineers typically work for engineering and architecture firms and can earn an average salary of $80,000 per year.
  • Pipefitter: A pipefitter installs and maintains large systems of pipes in industrial and commercial settings. This can include everything from steam and water systems to oil and gas lines. Pipefitters usually work for construction or industrial service companies and can earn an average salary of $56,000 per year.
  • Plumbing Inspector: A plumbing inspector ensures that plumbing systems in new construction or renovated buildings are up to code. They work for government agencies and can earn an average salary of $60,000 per year.
  • Service Plumber: A service plumber works on maintenance and repair of existing plumbing systems in residential and commercial settings. They work for plumbing companies and can earn an average salary of $50,000 per year.

Specialized Skills

One thing to note about plumbing jobs is that specialized skills can lead to even higher pay rates. Plumbers who are skilled in designing and installing green plumbing systems, like rainwater harvesting and graywater reuse systems, can earn significantly more than traditional plumbers. Skilled plumbers who work on large-scale projects, like infrastructure upgrades or public works projects, can also earn high salaries.

Benefits of a Plumbing Career

Aside from the salary, plumbing careers offer a variety of benefits that make them an attractive career choice. Some of the top benefits include job security, a stable income, opportunities for entrepreneurship, and the ability to work with your hands and solve complex problems every day.


Plumbing Job Title Average Salary Benefits
Master Plumber $72,000 Entrepreneurship opportunities, high level of expertise
Plumbing Engineer $80,000 Designing and creating plumbing systems
Pipefitter $56,000 Working on large piping systems
Plumbing Inspector $60,000 Ensuring safety and quality in plumbing systems
Service Plumber $50,000 Maintenance and repair of plumbing systems

No matter what plumbing career path you choose, there are opportunities for financial stability, personal growth, and a rewarding career.

Fastest-Growing Plumbing Careers with High Salaries

If you’re considering a career in plumbing, you’ll be happy to know that the industry is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for plumbers is expected to grow 6% between 2016 and 2026, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. This means that there will be plenty of opportunities for plumbers in the coming years, especially in the following areas:

  • Green Plumbing
  • Medical Gas Piping
  • Alternative Energy Plumbing

These three areas of plumbing are expected to see significant growth in the coming years, and they also offer some of the highest salaries in the industry. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Green Plumbing: With a growing focus on sustainability, green plumbing is becoming increasingly popular. Green plumbers specialize in installing and maintaining eco-friendly plumbing systems that conserve water and energy. This can include everything from rainwater harvesting systems to low-flow toilets and showerheads. Green plumbers can earn anywhere from $32,000 to $76,000 per year, depending on their level of experience and where they’re located.

Medical Gas Piping: Medical gas piping involves the installation and maintenance of gas lines that are used in hospitals and other medical facilities. This can include everything from oxygen lines to anesthesia gas lines. Because these systems are critical to patient care, medical gas piping requires specialized training, and plumbers in this field can earn anywhere from $48,000 to $90,000 per year.

Alternative Energy Plumbing: With the rising cost of energy, more and more homeowners are turning to alternative energy sources like solar panels and geothermal heating systems. Plumbers who specialize in installing and maintaining these systems can earn upwards of $80,000 per year. However, this field also requires specialized training and certification.

Specialization Median Salary
Green Plumbing $54,000
Medical Gas Piping $69,000
Alternative Energy Plumbing $80,000+

If you’re looking for a career with high earning potential and plenty of opportunities for growth, a career in plumbing could be the perfect choice for you. By specializing in one of these fast-growing areas of plumbing, you can enjoy a fulfilling career that pays well and provides job security for years to come.

Most In-Demand Plumbing Skills that Command High Pay

Being a plumber is a highly skilled job that requires a lot of training and experience. Plumbing skills are in high demand, but not all skills are created equal when it comes to earning potential. Plumbers with specialized skills can command higher pay and have an advantage in the job market. In this article, we’ll explore the most in-demand plumbing skills that can help you earn more in your career.

  • Backflow prevention: Many municipalities require backflow prevention devices to be installed to prevent contamination of water supplies. Plumbers who specialize in backflow prevention testing, installation, and repair are highly sought after and can command high fees for their services.
  • Green plumbing: With an increased focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, green plumbing is becoming more popular. Plumbers who specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing eco-friendly plumbing systems such as rainwater harvesting, solar water heating, and graywater systems can earn top dollar for their expertise.
  • Piping: An essential part of any plumbing system is the piping. Plumbers who specialize in piping installation, repair, and replacement can earn a considerable amount of money due to the importance of this aspect of plumbing.

Here are some additional in-demand plumbing skills:

  • Gas line installation and repair: Plumbers who can install and repair gas lines can work on both residential and commercial HVAC systems, making them highly sought after.
  • Boiler repair: With the rise of radiant floor heating systems and hot water baseboard systems, plumbers who specialize in boiler repair are in high demand.
  • Sump pump installation and repair: In areas with frequent flooding or heavy rainfall, sump pumps are an important part of any plumbing system. Plumbers who specialize in sump pump installation and repair can command high fees for their services.

Lastly, here is a table showing the hourly rates for different plumbing specialties:

Specialty Hourly Rate
Commercial plumbing $75-$150
Backflow prevention $75-$200
Green plumbing $100-$200
Piping $80-$120
Gas line installation and repair $75-$150
Boiler repair $80-$150
Sump pump installation and repair $75-$150

By specializing in an in-demand plumbing skill, you can position yourself for a high-paying career in the plumbing industry. Continually learning and honing your skills can help you stay ahead of the competition and earn more as a plumber.

What type of plumbers make the most money?

1. What is the average salary for a master plumber?
Master plumbers typically make the most money in the plumbing industry with an average salary of around $80-$90,000 per year.

2. Do plumbers with specialized skills earn more?
Yes, plumbers with specialized skills such as pipefitting, welding, and gas fitting can earn higher salaries due to their unique expertise.

3. Are union plumbers higher earners?
Union plumbers often make more money than non-union plumbers due to job security, better benefits, and more negotiation power.

4. Can plumbing experience increase earnings?
Yes, experienced plumbers who have been in the industry for many years can earn higher salaries because of their familiarity and proficiency with plumbing systems.

5. Are plumbers who work in specific industries higher earners?
Plumbers who work in industries such as oil and gas, construction, and manufacturing tend to earn higher salaries due to the specialized nature of their work.

6. Do plumbers who own their own business make more money?
Plumbers who own and operate their own business can potentially make more money because they can set their own rates and have greater control over their workload.

Closing: Thanks for stopping by!

We hope this article has helped answer your questions about what type of plumbers make the most money. Remember, while master plumbers and those with specialized skills tend to earn higher salaries, there are many factors that can impact a plumber’s earning potential. Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit us again for more industry insights!

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