Pipefitting and Pipelaying

Overall, Pipefitters / Pipelayers lay pipe for steam (electricity can be generated rom steam) or gas mains for renewable natural gas. As a Pipefitter, you will:

  • Follow the directions of others or written instructions to lay out pipe routes.
  • Cut pipes to required size. Position pipes to prepare them for welding or sealing.
  • Connect pipe pieces and joints using welding equipment or other sealing techniques.
  • Find pipes in need of repair or replacing using special magnetic or radio indicators.
  • Work safely and use appropriate safety equipment.
Entry-Level: Pipefitter/Pipelayer

Average salary*: $28,120

Education: High School Diploma

Testing: Pre-employment testing is typically required. Many companies require a passing score on the industry exams before being considered for employment. Topics focus on spatial ability, math concepts, mechanical reasoning and reading comprehension.

Special certificates/licenses: Some positions require an apprenticeship once employed. Commercial Drivers License (CDL).

Mid-Level: Specialty areas

Average salary*: $46,147

There are several specialties for pipefitting and pipelaying work. For a mid-level position, one can become an expert in one of these specialty areas:

Pipefitter (gas lines)
Things you’ll do: Prepare trenches for laying pipes. Lay pipes for gas lines. Weld, glue or cement the pieces together.

Pipelayer (gas lines)
Things you’ll do: Install and repair both high and low-pressure pipe systems. Install automatic controls used to regulate gas systems.

Boilermaker (power plants)
Things you’ll do: Construct, put together, maintain, and repair steam boilers and boiler house support. Align structures to assemble boiler frame tanks or holders. Inspect and repair boiler fixtures. (Requires an apprenticeship and earning what are called Black and Blue Seal licenses).

Welder (power plants)
Things you’ll do: Use hand welding or flame-cutting equipment to join metal segments. Lay out, position, and secure parts prior to assembly. Monitor the fitting, burning, and welding processes to avoid overheating and warping, shrinking, distortion, and expansion of material.

Senior-Level: Crew Leader (gas lines & power plants)

Average salary*: $59,946

Education: While companies may provide some training in supervisory and leadership skills, an Associate’s degree may be beneficial.

Required years of experience: Typically ten years

Things you’ll do:
Determine schedules and work activities of crew members. Review with crew members how well they are doing on the job and provide feedback, as necessary. Check work areas and examine tools and equipment to see if there are any unsafe conditions. Communicate effectively with others including crew members, bosses, and management. Deal with potentially stressful situations.







Annual Salary Range*: $28k–60k

High School to Associate’s Degree

If you like: working outdoors, being hands on, working with heavy equipment

You’ll also need to:

  • Work by yourself with little or no supervision.
  • Be patient and willing to stick it out.
  • Listen and understand the needs of the job and how to meet them.
  • Be comfortable working outdoors.


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* Based on national average from payscale.com. Will vary depending upon geographic location.