Plumbers (NOC 7251) may also be called:
- maintenance plumber
- plumber apprentice
- plumbing mechanic
What Would I Do?
Plumbers install, maintain, and repair pipes and plumbing systems used for water distribution and wastewater disposal in buildings of all types.
Your duties include:
- reading blueprints to identify layout of plumbing system and estimate what materials are needed
- cut opening in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings
- measure, cut, bend and thread pipes using hand and power tools or machines
- join water supply and drainage pipes
- install, repair and maintain fixtures such as toilets and faucets
- test pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
Am I Suited For This Job?
- be physically fit
- be comfortable with heights
- be able to solve math problems quickly and accurately
- work well with your hands
- have good hand-eye coordination
The working environment for plumbers can be cramped, dirty and noisy, depending on the job. You must be physically fit since you are required to carry heavy pipe and stand for much of the day.
What Are The Wages And Benefits?
In British Columbia, the median annual salary for plumbers is 54,226.
In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:
Source: Job Bank Wage Report [Search 7251]
Your earnings depend on your experience, employer, geographic location, and whether or not you are in a union. Most plumbers are paid an hourly wage, though you may receive an annual salary.
You may also receive benefits, such as dental insurance, pension plans, and paid vacation days. The wages and benefits of unionized plumbers are negotiated by union representatives.
Sources: WorkBC Career and Career Cruising database (Profile for Plumber)
What Is The Job Outlook In BC?
Over the last few years, there has been a rapid increase in construction activity in B.C. Residential construction and renovations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, southern Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions continue to be a source of plumbing work.
Commercial, institutional and industrial construction will also continue to be an important job supply for plumbers.
Chart from WorkBC
Technological improvements and more efficient methods are increasing the productivity of plumbers. Improved output of workers will affect the number of new jobs created.
‘Careers in Construction Canada’ predicts that for the 2019-2026 projection period, employment will be ‘balanced’, where new entrants and workers from outside the province must compete for available jobs.
Sources: WorkBC Career Profiles, CareersinConstruction.ca
How Do I Become a Plumber?
To work as a plumber in BC you require:
- Completion of secondary school (including courses in mathematics, physics and science and technology) is usually required
- Trade certification (Certificate of Qualification, Gas B License and/or Interprovincial Red Seal Endorsement)
- apprentice status
Certification requires completion of approximately four-year apprenticeship program, OR, over 9600 hours (five years) of directly related experience in plumbing and some training courses.
For further information, see:
How Do I Find A Job?
Where would I work?
Plumbers work in a variety of settings including:
- construction companies
- plumbing contractors
- general contractors
- maintenance departments of factories, plants and similar establishments
- renovating companies
- may also be self-employed.
Finding Advertised Jobs
Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.
You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.
Online Job Postings
Finding “Hidden Jobs”
Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.
Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers
You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who employ plumbers in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.
- Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association
GVHBA membership directory, also available at Central Library, Vancouver Public Library
(click on ‘Find a Builder’ or ‘Find a Renovator’)
- Reference Canada
Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
In the top search box enter “plumbers”** and click SEARCH.
Select the appropriate headings.
Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
**You can also try entering “plumbing” to find more company names such as plumbing contractors.
NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database.
Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies
Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.
Networking and the Hidden Job Market:
When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.
- Habitat for Humanity
(can volunteer at construction sites or at ReStores)
For additional tips see:
Applying for a Job
In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.
Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
For more information see:
Where Can This Job Lead?
Experienced plumbers may be promoted to a supervisory position.
With more experience you may also choose to work as an independent contractor and start your own plumbing companies.
With additional education some plumbers may become certified plumbing inspectors.
Where Can I Find More Information?
STEP is a no-fee employment program that helps immigrants get jobs in the construction industry