To install a typical piping system in a commercial building or industrial plant, pipefitters:
- Study blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the type of pipe and tools to use, and lay out the sequence of tasks
- Sometimes make detailed sketches for pipe and equipment fabrication and installation, as required
- Measure, cut, thread, groove, bend, assemble and install metal, plastic and fiberglass pipes, valves and fittings
- Join pipe sections, related equipment and secure in position
- Use testing equipment to check systems for leaks
Pipefitters also remove and replace worn components, do general maintenance work and may work on plant shut-downs.
Skills & Abilities
The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy working with little direction or supervision.
To be successful in their trade, pipefitters need:
- The physical strength and stamina required to lift heavy materials and stand for long periods
- Manual dexterity
- Mechanical aptitude
- The ability to read and understand complex instructions
- The ability to do careful and exacting work
This is a good time to be looking for a career in the skilled trades. The Conference Board of Canada estimates there will be a shortage of one million workers in the trades and related occupations within twenty years. Employers in many industries and regions raise concerns about shortages of skilled workers in the trades. The “Baby Boomer” generation is going to retire soon and needs to be replaced.
The term of apprenticeship for a steamfitter – pipefitter is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.
A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).
To learn the skills required of a steamfitter – pipefitter in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must have a pass mark in:
- English 20-2 – Math 20-3 – Science 10, or
- All five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests, or
- Entrance Exam
The United Association has over 100 years of providing additional training, producing the highest skilled tradesmen in the industry.